Charlie Haden, whom Time magazine hailed as “one of the most restless, gifted, and intrepid players in all of jazz,” died Friday morning in Los Angeles after a long illness. A rep from ECM Records confirmed the news. He was 76.
A 16-time Grammy nominee and a founding member of the revolutionary Ornette Coleman Quartet, Haden’s career spanned over 50 years and vastly changed the ways that the bass was used in jazz. The Iowa native also founded the politically charged ensemble the Liberation Music Orchestra, a group whose pieces reflected his views on the Spanish Civil War and the Vietnam War, among other political and military conflicts. Considered one of the founding fathers of free jazz, Haden also played alongside Keith Jarrett in the ’60s and ’70s.
According to the statement from ECM, those by Haden’s side at the time of his death included Ruth Cameron, his wife of 30 years, and his children Josh Haden, Tanya Haden, Rachel Haden, and Petra Haden.