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Q&A with Charlie Haden

By Published: June 8, 2005
CH: I played with Kenny Barron in different settings, once with Chet Baker, and another time with Abbey Lincoln, and then he asked me to do his album Wanton Spirit, which was nominated for a Grammy, which has Roy Haynes on it. I really love playing with Kenny. I got us a gig at the Iridium in New York and told Jean-Philippe Allard, my executive producer in Paris, that I wanted to record it and that's what we did.

AAJ: What can we expect for you in the future?

CH: I'm touring with Kenny to promote the album, and I'm going to be in Europe this summer with Lee Konitz and Paul Bley. I'll be doing some concerts with Quartet West. I'm going to be doing a new record with Quartet West. I'm going to be doing a new record with Quartet West and strings, and then I'm going to be doing a lot of other projects, recording that I want to do with different groups.

AAJ: Any young musicians that you think we should watch out for?

CH: There's one young pianist, his name is Brad Mehldau, that I really love. Actually, I've got him on this thing with Lee Konitz called Alone Together on Blue Note that we recorded last year at the Jazz Bakery. It just came out and it is a great record. He is one of the young musicians that has innovation in his playing and I just think he is fantastic.

AAJ: Favorite standard?

CH: "Body and Soul" is my all time favorite.

AAJ: What motivates you?

CH: To make music that's going to have some effect in a positive way on people's lives. To touch their lives in a beautiful, positive way and to help them recognize the deep qualities that are inside themselves. To play as much beautiful music as I can for as many people as I can.

AAJ: When do you see the direction jazz will go in the future?

CH: I see the future of jazz, hopefully going in a direction beyond category, where it's going to be music that more and more people can appreciate.

AAJ: What instrument would you like to play other than the bass?

CH: I can't imaging that I wouldn't be playing the bass.

AAJ: What would you like the audience to take away from your recordings and performances?

CH: I would like for them to be touched by the beauty and to remember how there is beauty in everyone's life, and that there is beauty in the world and how important it is to be romantic.

AAJ: Describe jazz.

CH: I am really not close to categorizing music any more. To me it's important to play something that's never been played before. To approach music as if you are playing it for the first time every time you pick up your instrument. To create something that has never been before. To really put your life on the line. I tell my students at Cal Arts that you should be willing to give up your life for your art form. To risk your life for every note that you play and to make every note count.

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