As a Leader & Co-Leader

“As long as there are musicians who have a passion for spontaneity, for creating something that’s never been before, the art form of jazz will flourish.” — Charlie Haden


Live at Birdland with Konitz, Mehldau, Motian (ECM/2011)

A quartet of master musicians and a programme of jazz classics. Live At Birdland presents the finest moments from two inspired nights at New York’s legendary club, as Konitz, Mehldau, Haden and Motian play “Loverman”, “Lullaby Of Birdland”, “Solar,” “I Fall In Love Too Easily”, “You Stepped Out Of A Dream” and “Oleo” with freedom, tenderness, and a love of melody that only jazz’s greatest improvisers can propose. On this live recording from New York’s legendary club, an ensemble of history-making players dives into the music without a set list. Four exceptional jazz musicians – Lee Konitz, Brad Mehldau, Charlie Haden and Paul Motian – approach the standards from new perspectives and unusual angles. They play them with freedom, tenderness and a melodic and rhythmic understanding found only amongst jazz’s greatest improvisers. (

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Sophisticated Ladies with Quartet West (Emarcy/2011)
Jasmine with Keith Jarrett (ECM/2010)
When The Heart Dances with Laurence Hobgood & Kurt Elling (Naim/2009)
Private Collection with Quartet West (Naim/2008 & 2009)

Charlie Haden Family & Friends: Rambling Boy (Decca/2008) | iTunes

Listeners familiar with the Charlie Haden’s celebrated career may not know of the legendary jazz bassist’s early years in country music performing with his family. Charlie Haden Family & Friends: Rambling Boy brings the artist’s personal history full circle and presents a new generation of the Haden Family – a legendary Midwest music institution in the 1930s and 1940s, now reborn in the 21st century. Rambling Boy includes songs made famous by the Stanley Brothers, the Carter Family, and Hank Williams alongside fabled traditional tunes and some striking original compositions. The performing cast includes Haden, his wife and co-producer Ruth Cameron, all four of his children (the triplets Petra, Rachel and Tanya Haden, their brother Josh Haden), and his son-in-law Jack Black– each of whom has his or her own career in music. In addition, Rambling Boy features guest appearances by some of the most illustrious names in contemporary Americana and popular music: Roseanne Cash, Elvis Costello, Vince Gill, Bruce Hornsby, Ricky Skaggs & the Whites, and Dan Tyminski and also includes such illustrious musicians as Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton and more. (

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Heartplay with Antonio Forcione (2006)
Not In Our Name with the LMO (Verve/2005)

Special Encounter with Enrico Pieranunzi and Paul Motian (Camjazz/2005) | iTunes

Joined by a pair of decorated Americans, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Paul Motian, Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi brings his usual elegance and insight to a smart mix of standards such as “You’ve Changed,” Haden staples such as “Waltz for Ruth” and Pieranunzi originals such as the evocative “Secret Nights.” The players who have hooked up in different settings before, bond as a trio. The mood builds as the musicianship deepens. (

Fellini Jazz with Pieranunzi, Potter, Wheeler, Motian (Camjazz/2004) | iTunes

A musical tribute to the legendary film director, Federico Fellini. Unique arrangements by Enrico Pieranunzi of the most memorable themes from the films that have made the history of cinema. An extraordinary event, where Pieranunzi performs together with Kenny Wheeler, Chris Potter, Charlie Haden, and Paul Motian. (

Land of the Sun (Verve/2004) *Grammy Winner | iTunes

Haden focuses on the work of little-known Mexican composer Jose Sabre Marroquin. Haden’s vivid and vibrant bass lines are augmented by Rubalcaba’s transcendent arrangements, featuring tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon. Marroquin’s romantic boleros and canciones, especially “Nostalgia” and “Paola’s Song,” exemplify the softer syncopations of the Latin sound. (

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The Montreal Tapes – Joe Henderson & Al Foster (Verve/2004)
Nightfall with John Taylor (Naim/2004)

American Dreams (Verve/2002) | iTunes

Charlie Haden’s feelings for his country run deep. And even when there are no words involved, as on this all-instrumental album, the bassist’s heart-on-his-sleeve pride in his homeland comes shining through. If only one song is explicitly a nationalistic ode (“America the Beautiful”), each of the other tracks is permeated by a glowing musical radiance that communicates heartfelt emotions. Each member of the all-star unit seems to have been touched by this same elation: tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker, pianist Brad Mehldau, and drummer Brian Blade all play with elegance and invention. (Noted arrangers Alan Broadbent, Vince Mendoza, and Jeremy Lubbock, with a 34-piece orchestra in tow, also contribute to the general excellence of the project.) The material ranges widely, utilizing work from Haden (“American Dreams”) and Mehldau, Keith Jarrett, Ornette Coleman, Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, and Don Sebesky, as well as Hollywood tunesmiths Alan and Marilyn Bergman and Don Grusin (including the popular “It Might Be You”). It’s fitting that Haden expresses his love of country through his obvious love of American music. (Barnes & Noble)

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In Montreal with Egberto Gismonti (ECM/2001)

Nocturne (Verve/2001) *Grammy Winner | iTunes

Charlie Haden has a long-standing interest in Cuban music, first touched on with his Liberation Music Orchestra over 30 years ago. Nocturne expands on that affinity and on the bassist’s relationship with Cuban piano virtuoso Gonzalo Rubalcaba, who introduced Haden to the tradition of the Cuban ballad, or bolero. The result is this very unusual mix of slow- to medium-tempo pieces, limpid, sometimes almost somber songs that are filled with yearning romanticism, wistful lyricism, and an inner light. The program includes five Cuban ballads, including “Tres Palabras,” almost a jazz standard after recordings by Coleman Hawkins and Joe Henderson, and four from Mexico, among them Arturo Castro’s beautiful “Yo Sin Ti.” To this, Haden has added two originals and Rubalcaba one, and they’re perfectly continuous with the traditional material. Rubalcaba is clearly devoted to these melodies, his usual pyrotechnic flights replaced by subtle harmonic shadings that enrich the original tunes. Haden seems to sculpt these songs anew in his lower register, while drummer Ignacio Berroa adds varied and lilting percussion patterns. (

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The Art of the Song with Quartet West (Verve Gitanes/1999)
The Montreal Tapes – Liberation Music Orchestra (Verve/1999)
The Montreal Tapes – Geri Allen & Paul Motion (Verve/1998)
The Montreal Tapes – Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Paul Motion (Verve/1998)
None But The Lonely Heart with Chris Anderson (Naim/1998)

Alone Together with Konitz & Mehldau (Blue Note/1997) | iTunes

Lee Konitz is one of the great and genuine improvisers, a musician who can be counted on to take risks, striving to invent in the moment. In these live recordings from Los Angeles’s Jazz Bakery, he’s heard exploring familiar standards that have long been part of his repertoire, but every phrase seems newly minted by Konitz’s dry sound and his slightly hesitant, always searching, line. Tunes that often receive pat performances, like “Cherokee” and “Round Midnight,” appear here as unknown terrains. Veteran bassist Charlie Haden displays the intense listening skills that distinguish his playing, shadowing Konitz’s invention and anchoring the harmony. Pianist Brad Mehldau, a rising star, extends his musical reach here, accepting Konitz’s terms and playing jazz in its most naked and challenging form. (

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Beyond The Missouri Sky with Pat Metheny (Verve/1996) *Grammy Winner
Night and the City with Kenny Barron (Verve/1996)
Now Is The Hour with Quartet West (Verve Gitanes1995)
The Montreal Tapes- Paul Bley & Paul Motion (Verve/1995)
Steal Away with Hank Jones (Verve/1994)
The Montreal Tapes – Don Cherry & Ed Blackwell (Verve/1994)
Always Say Goodbye with Quartet West (Verve Gitanes/1993)
Haunted Heart with Quartet West (Verve Gitanes/1992)

Live at the Village Vanguard with Paul Motian & Geri Allen (DIW/1991)

What a shame this trio didn’t keep working together longer — the finely honed veteran rhythm section of Charlie Haden and Paul Motian was a match made in heaven for Geri Allen, the most stylistically versatile and creative pianist of her generation. But praise the music gods they managed to record as much as they did. Live at the Village Vanguard is a good CD musically, but there’s not much jump-up factor here — it’s moody and very bluesy in feeling if not actual form, almost like chamber jazz at times. (

Silence with Chet Baker, Billy Higgins, Enrico Pieranunzi (Camjazz/1990)

Silence features bassist Charlie Haden joined by Chet Baker, drummer Billy Higgins, and pianist Enrico Pieranunzi. It was recorded just six months before Baker’s death. His sad lyricism is a stirring presence throughout the half-dozen tunes. Haden’s “Silence” is like a mournful prayer with Baker’s trumpet at the fore. Elsewhere, Baker exhibits full commitment, even on pieces that had been in his repertoire for 35 years at that point (“My Funny Valentine” and “Round About Midnight”). Italian pianist Pieranunzi plays in a style that embraces jazz, but draws from classical music (not unlike Bill Evans). Higgins has worked with Haden off and on since their time together with Ornette Coleman in the ’50s. He brings a modernist’s sensibility to his playing, along with a light and elegant touch that perfectly suits the quiet nature of this set. All in all, this is a masterful union, one that’s perfectly and cleanly documented. (

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Dialogues with Carlos Paredes (Antilles/1990)

First Song with Billy Higgins & Enrico Pieranunzi (Soul Note/1990) | iTunes

These three come together really well, and create some great sounds. They really make you think with Enrico Pieranunzi’s great piano lines and Charlie Haden’s bass solos. I would highly recommend this for any jazz musician, or jazz lover. This is great thinking music. (

Dream Keeper with LMO (Blue Note/1990)

Memoirs with Paul Bley & Paul Motian (Soul Note/1990) | iTunes

Memoirs serves as a tidy summation of Paul Bley’s gifts as an individual and musical conversationalist. It helps that he converses with old friends. Paul Motian is, roughly, to the drums what Bley is to the piano, capable of sculpting icy, paradoxical emotions; on moment’s notice, they can venture “out” where tonal centers and rhythmic pulses are not invited. And there, always, is the fundamental Charlie Haden, who demonstrates how a few well-placed notes and well-observed silences can lock a group texture into place. (


In The Year of the Dragon with Geri Allen and Paul Motian (Winter & Winter/1999)

Fully realized, diverse, and balanced, this piano-bass-drums trio recording is one of the very best of its late-’80s era, loaded with great musicianship, surprises, and an accurate representation of these genius musicians’ personalities. In The Year of the Dragon is highly recommended to all who appreciate superb musicianship coming together. (

Segments with Geri Allen and Paul Motian (DIW/1989)

Segments features three of the finest modern jazz musicians: pianist Geri Allen, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Paul Motian. At the time, the trio performed and recorded frequently, and the collaborative energy they shared is palpable on this album. Along with original pieces, they perform smart, unique versions of Ornette Coleman’s “Law Years,” Charlie Parker’s “Marmaduke,” and “Segment,” along with the standards “I’m All Smiles” and “You’ll Never Know.”

In Angel City with Quartet West (Verve/1988)
Quartet West (Verve/1987)

Etudes with Geri Allen & Paul Motian (1987) | iTunes

Three of the most sensitive musicians known to the world of jazz have collaborated to make an album that sparkles with cretive energy and intuitive senitiveties. From the wonderfull rendition of Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman” to some of the lesser known titles, all are done with a high level of expertise and a masterfull brilliance. A beautifull album through and through. (

An Evening with Joe Henderson and Al Foster (1987/Red) | iTunes

This album is one of the greatest saxophone/jazz/MUSIC albums ever made, simply catching Joe Henderson, Charlie Haden & Al Foster in concert one day in Italy 1987. This was a one-off concert, was done with no rehearsal, and the result documents what jazz can be when it is at it’s best. Joe’s amazing sense of architecture, his original harmonic approach, his funkiness, ability to go in & out as well as his overwhelming originality and depth of emotion is at full display here. He is simply one of the greatest saxplayers ever! And Charlie Haden & Al Foster are themselves delivering truly inspiring performances. John Scofield has called this album his “bible”. When you listen to it you’ll know why! It is up there with anything John Coltrane or Sonny Rollins has done. (

The Ballad of the Fallen with LMO (ECM/1982)
Time Remembers One Time Once with Denny Zeitlin (ECM/1981)


Folks Songs with Jan Garbarek & Egberto Gismonti (ECM/1979) | iTunes

One of the better ECM recordings, this collaboration by bassist Charlie Haden, Jan Garbarek on tenor and soprano, and Egberto Gismonti (switching between guitar and piano) is filled with moody originals, improvisations that blend together jazz and world music, and atmospheric ensembles. This date works well both as superior background music and for close listening. (

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Magico with Jan Garbarek & Egberto Gismonti (ECM/1979) | iTunes

Perhaps it was the presence of bassist Charlie Haden, but this trio set has more energy than one normally associates with the other members of the group (Jan Garbarek on tenor and soprano and Egberto Gismonti doubling on guitar and piano). The trio performs group originals and an obscurity during the picturesque and continually interesting release; this combination works well. (

Gitane with Christian Esoude (Dreyfus/1978)
Soapsuds, Soapsuds with Ornette Coleman (Artists House/1977)
The Golden Number Duets with Cherry, Coleman, Hawes, Shepp (A&M-Horizon/1977)
Closeness Duets with Jarrett, Coleman, Coltrane, Motian (A&M-Horizon/1976)
As Long As There’s Music with Hampton Hawes (Polygram/1976)


Liberation Music Orchestra (Impulse!/1969)