Skip to main content

Legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden dead at 76

By Alan Duke, CNN
July 13, 2014 -- Updated 1903 GMT (0303 HKT)
Charlie Haden, pictured here in 2005, has died at age 76.
Charlie Haden, pictured here in 2005, has died at age 76.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Charlie Haden first performed as a yodeling toddler with his family's country band
  • Haden is known as a founding father of free jazz
  • He played bass on hundreds of recordings with the biggest jazz legends

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Grammy-winning jazz bassist Charlie Haden, whose music career spanned seven decades and several genres, died Friday, his publicist said Sunday. He was 76.

Haden, who first performed as a yodeling toddler with his family's country band in the 1930s, played on hundreds of recordings with the biggest jazz legends.

His wife and four children were with him as his life ended following a long illness, ECM Records spokeswoman Tina Pelikan said.

Haden, a sideman in saxophonist Ornette Coleman's band in the 1960s, is known as a founding father of free jazz. He also led his own Liberation Music Orchestra and the Charlie Haden Quartet West.

Click through to see people who passed away in 2014. Click through to see people who passed away in 2014.
People we lost in 2014
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: People we lost in 2014 Photos: People we lost in 2014

The National Endowment for the Arts named Haden a "jazz master" in 2012 for his long career as a musician, composer, bandleader, educator, producer and activist.

"Lyrical and expressive on the bass, he embraced a variety of musical genres, ranging from jazz to country to world music," the NEA's bio of Haden said.

Haden was just 22 months old when he first sang on his parents' country-western radio show. He took up the bass as a teenager before moving from his native Iowa to Los Angeles in 1957, the NEA bio said.

His work on the influential recordings with Coleman "helped move the bassist from an accompanying position to one of innovation and more direct improvisatory participation," the bio said.

People we've lost in 2014

CNN's David Daniel contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Click through our gallery to remember those we lost this year.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 1530 GMT (2330 HKT)
Northern Ireland's former first minister and former Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley has died. He was 88.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 1304 GMT (2104 HKT)
Richard Kiel, the actor best known for playing the James Bond villain "Jaws," died at age 74 in a California hospital.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 2056 GMT (0456 HKT)
Actress Molly Glynn, who played an emergency room doctor on several "Chicago Fire" episodes, died from injuries after a tree fell on her during a storm.
S. Truett Cathy, the fast-food entrepreneur who turned a single restaurant into the multibillion-dollar Chick-fil-A empire, has died at age 93.
September 6, 2014 -- Updated 1757 GMT (0157 HKT)
Simone Battle, an "X Factor" finalist and G.R.L. singer, was found dead in a Los Angeles home, a coroner's spokesman said. She was 25.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 0226 GMT (1026 HKT)
Joan Rivers, the sassy comedian whose gossipy "can we talk" persona catapulted her into a career as a talk-show host, author and red-carpet maven, has died.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Jimi Jamison, who belted out the hits "The Search is Over" and "Burning Heart" for 1980s rock band Survivor, has died. He was 63.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
CNN lost a much loved and respected colleague with the sudden passing of photojournalist Sarmad Qaseera.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1954 GMT (0354 HKT)
Acclaimed actor-director Richard Attenborough has died at 90, the actor's agent said.
August 24, 2014 -- Updated 2203 GMT (0603 HKT)
The founder of the University of Phoenix, Dr. John G. Sperling, has died. He was 93.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
Don Pardo, the announcer whose velvety baritone voice introduced "Saturday Night Live" hosts on NBC for decades, has died at age 96.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1934 GMT (0334 HKT)
Jim Jeffords, who shifted the balance of power in the Senate when he bolted from the Republican Party in 2001, died at age 80.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 2132 GMT (0532 HKT)
Former Z-Boys skater Jay Adams died after a heart attack while vacationing in Mexico with his wife. He was 53.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 2335 GMT (0735 HKT)
Actress Arlene Martel, who "Star Trek" fans know as Spock's bride-to-be, died of complications from a heart attack. Martel was 78.
August 13, 2014 -- Updated 2048 GMT (0448 HKT)
Ed Nelson, best known for playing a doctor in the 1960s nighttime soap opera "Peyton Place," has died at 85.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 0308 GMT (1108 HKT)
Actress Lauren Bacall, known for her distinctive, husky voice and sultry sensuality, has died at age 89.
ADVERTISEMENT