Best Quotes from Charlie Haden

I want them to come away with discovering the music inside them. And not thinking about themselves as jazz musicians, but thinking about themselves as good human beings, striving to be a great person and maybe they’ll become a great musician.

Charlie Haden

In L.A., I played with Joe Pass and Gabor Szabo. Mick Goodrick plays guitar in the Liberation Music Orchestra, and he’s a real special player. Then I did a duet concert with Jim Hall at the 1990 Montreal Festival.

Charlie Haden

We’re here to bring beauty to the world and make a difference in this planet. That’s what art forms are about.

Charlie Haden

I think it’s very important to live in the present. One of the great things that improvising teaches you is the magic of the moment that you’re in because, when you improvise, you’re in right now. You’re not in yesterday or tomorrow – you’re right in the moment.

Charlie Haden

I want people to feel what it was like in the ’40s. That’s when popular music in the United States was so beautiful. Frank Sinatra, the Pied Pipers, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Tommy Dorsey, Billie Holiday. That’s when popular music had deeper values, to me. This was music that was selling millions of records.

Charlie Haden

I’m always searching. It’s the reason I’m here. It’s not really about music: it’s about searching for meaning.

Charlie Haden

My family influenced me very deeply because my dad came from a musical background, from the hillbilly music part of it, and all that music came over from Scotland and Ireland and England in to the Appalachian Mountains and Ozark Mountains, where I was raised.

Charlie Haden

Bluegrass is in my blood and in my ears.

Charlie Haden

I want to expand jazz; I don’t want to keep the audience limited. I want to reach people who have never come to a jazz concert before. One way to do that is by making records that have a lot of different kinds of music on them.

Charlie Haden

The bass, no matter what kind of music you’re playing, it just enhances the sound and makes everything sound more beautiful and full. When the bass stops, the bottom kind of drops out of everything.

Charlie Haden

When you listen to a symphony orchestra, and the basses don’t – there’s no bass part, there’s not that much depth. That’s why I’m attracted to the instrument, the bass. It brings depth. It’s like playing in a rainforest.

Charlie Haden

When I was four, we moved to a farm outside Springfield, Missouri. We had a radio show from that farmhouse. My dad always wanted a farm. We used to go out and milk the cows every morning and then do a radio show with a remote control from our living room. We’d start by singing ‘Keep On The Sunny Side.’

Charlie Haden

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

I’ve got a collection of songs that I’ve had, I keep adding to and they’re all great American composers. I wanted to showcase American composers and I’ve done that on a lot of my records and played things by American composers that I really respect.

Charlie Haden

Some tracks are with quartet and some tracks are with synthesizer.

Charlie Haden

I just try to play music from my heart and bring as much beauty as I can to as many people as I can. Just give them other alternatives, especially people who aren’t exposed to creative music.

Charlie Haden

It used to be that creative music was most of the music that you heard back in the ’30s and ’40s, and now it’s like 3 percent. So, its kind of a struggle getttin’ it out there.

Charlie Haden

I just see myself as a human being that’s concerned about life.

Charlie Haden

I have music inside me and I’m very lucky to be able to play music and that’s the way that I try to do it.

Charlie Haden

When we first started playing we did a lot of rehearsing. We used to write out everything. In fact, that’s the way everybody rehearses: we play the tunes and improvise.

Charlie Haden

I just sit down at the piano and rattle it off.

Charlie Haden

James Cotton is a real blues guy, and he played with Muddy Waters, and it surprised me that they would want me to make a record with them, that he called me to do this record. I’d never done anything like that before. But I love blues, so I was very happy.

Charlie Haden

I always told the people at Cal Arts that if they wanted me to do Jazz studies, first of all, there couldn’t be a big band within 500 miles and that I could do what I wanted to do. And they said I could.

Charlie Haden

There’s like a special group of people that come from different parts of the planet to study with me. It’s nice. I just gave a workshop in Boston at the New England Conservatory, which was really nice.

Charlie Haden

I have a very clear picture of what I want to do and what I feel is important as far as my contribution or my appreciation and respect for this life that we’re living, and to try to make it better. I can’t feel that I’m making it better playing commercial music, and I never could, and I never will.

Charlie Haden

I always felt that I was born in the wrong era. I wanted to be friends with John Garfield, for instance.

Charlie Haden

I wish I could’ve been friends with Charlie Parker and played with him. That’s my period. I feel real close to the ’40s – and actually, I was born in ’37, so I was a kid singing on the radio in the ’40s. But I always dreamed of going to big cities.

Charlie Haden

My parents were on the Grand Ole Opry. They traveled all over the country singing hillbilly music. That’s what they called it back then. They were friends with Roy Acuff and the Delmore Brothers and the Carter Family. And all of my brothers and sisters who were older than me started on the show, after they were big enough to hold a guitar and sing.

Charlie Haden

I don’t sing now, because I had polio when I was 15, bulbar polio. This was when the epidemic was happening. And I was lucky that it didn’t affect my lungs or my legs. It went to my face and kind of paralyzed my vocal chords, and I wasn’t able to sing. And they said I was very lucky that I would get over it, which I did.

Charlie Haden

I listened to classical music. I listened to jazz. I listened to everything. And I started becoming interested in the sounds of jazz. And I went to a concert of Jazz at the Philharmonic when we lived in Omaha, Nebraska, and I saw Charlie Parker play and Billie Holiday sing and Lester Young play, and that did it. I said, ‘That’s what I want to do.’

Charlie Haden

I can write a song about my hero Che Guevara and call it ‘Song for Che.’

Charlie Haden

You can’t be at your full creative power if you are sedated.

Charlie Haden

My dad was a great guy; my mother was wonderful. I was very lucky to be around music from the time I woke up until I went to bed.

Charlie Haden

I came from being a singer going into jazz. And that’s one of the things that polio did for me is it took away my ability to sing with a range because it paralyzed my vocal chords, so that was when I started playing. But I hear the music as if I were singing even when I am playing.

Charlie Haden

One of the things my mom used to do – I don’t know why she chose me, but she chose me out of her six children to take to the African-American church that was in the town that we lived in Springfield, Missouri. And we would go to the church, and we would sit in the back row, and we would listen to all of the spirituals in the hymns.

Charlie Haden

That’s what I tell my students at California Institute of the Arts where I taught for 27 years. I taught them if you strive to be a good person, maybe you might become a great jazz musician.

Charlie Haden

I grew up around guitar players.

Charlie Haden

One of the things polio does is it takes away your energy. They don’t know very much about it. They should be a lot more aware of what polio is.

Charlie Haden

Mostly I play with records. I play with my friend Bill Evans.

Charlie Haden

I never heard anything so brilliant in my life as I did that first time I heard Ornette. He played like some revolutionary angel. Soon, we were rehearsing in his place, music scattered everywhere, and he was telling me to play outside the chord changes, which was exactly what I had been wanting to do. Now I had permission.

Charlie Haden

I had to learn right away how to improvise behind Ornette, which not only meant following him from one key to another and recognizing the different keys, but modulating in a way that the keys flowed in and out of each other, and the new harmonies sounded right.

Charlie Haden

I used to listen to a lot of Bach on the radio, and when the basses started to sing, it made everything complete – it made it all make sense.

Charlie Haden

I wanted to do ‘Oh Shenandoah’ because that’s the town I was born in – as a tribute to my mom and dad for giving me all this music. I don’t really sing this as a singer, because I’m not a singer. But I wanted to do it for them.

Charlie Haden

I didn’t play a lot of bass as a kid, but I sang it.

Charlie Haden

Hoover’s Music Store in Springfield, Missouri – I would listen to records there for hours.

Charlie Haden

That’s the thing about musicians: The priority is to create something new that’s never been before. And you put your life on the line every time that you play.

Charlie Haden

There’s enough dismemberment going on in the world without writing music about it.

Charlie Haden

I want to take people away from the ugliness and sadness around us every day and bring beautiful, deep music to as many people as I can.

Charlie Haden

My roots have never left me… because the very first memory I have is my mom singing and me singing with her.

Charlie Haden

People ask me how could I go from country to jazz. It’s been a natural convergence for me.

Charlie Haden