As a youth in Shenandoah, Iowa, Charlie Haden (b. 1937) sang traditional country and folk songs with The Haden Family band, appearing often on the radio. At age 14 Haden became interested in the bass and its place in classical music and jazz. Migrating west for college in Los Angeles, Haden played with Paul Bley, Hampton Hawes, and perhaps most importantly, Ornette Coleman, who would in the 1950s usher in a new school of jazz known as “free jazz” or simply “the avant-garde.” Haden led bands diverse as the politically-motivated Liberation Music Orchestra and the in-the-tradition combo Quartet West.
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