Charles Edward "Charlie" Haden (August 6, 1937 – July 11, 2014) was an American jazz double bass player, bandleader, composer and educator known for his deep, warm sound, and whose career spanned more than fifty years. In the late 1950's, Haden achieved early legendary status as an original member of the ground-breaking Ornette Coleman Quartet that turned the jazz world on its head.
Haden revolutionized the harmonic concept of bass playing in jazz. “His ability to create serendipitous harmonies by improvising melodic responses to Coleman’s free-form solos (rather than sticking to predetermined harmonies) was both radical and mesmerizing. His virtuosity lies…in an incredible ability to make the double bass ‘sound out’. Haden cultivates the instrument’s gravity as no one else in jazz. He is a master of simplicity which is one of the most difficult things to achieve.” (Author Joachim Berendt in The Jazz Book) Haden played a vital role in this revolutionary new approach, evolving a way of playing that sometimes complemented the soloist and sometimes moved independently. In this respect, as did bassists Jimmy Blanton and Charles Mingus, Haden helped liberate the bassist from a strictly accompanying role to becoming a more direct participant in group improvisation. In 1969, he formed his first band, the revolutionary Liberation Music Orchestra, featuring arrangements by pianist Carla Bley. In the late 1960's, he became a member of the pianist Keith Jarrett stellar trio, quartet and quintet. In the 1980s, he formed his very successful band 'Quartet West.' Haden also became known for his exquisite duet recordings, most notably with Pat Metheny and Hank Jones.