Charlie Haden and Carla Bley (photo by Thomas Dorn)
Charlie Haden and Carla Bley (Thomas Dorn)

Where: Jackson Theater
4400 Day School Place, Santa Rosa
When: Sunday, June 2
Time: 7:00 pm | Tickets: $75, $55, $45

Weekend Ticket Bundles and Hotel Packages available for this concert. Please review all options before purchasing tickets.

Tribute to Charlie Haden: Day 2, 7:00 – 11:00 pm
Set 1 – Gonzalo Rubalcaba, solo piano 
Set 2 – Bill Frisell plus the Haden Family: Rachel, Petra, Tanya and Josh Haden 
Set 3 – Liberation Music Orchestra featuring Carla Bley 

Food  available for this event: Lata’s Indian (pdf) and Awful Falafel (pdf)

Click to order ticketsCharlie Haden‘s life in music may be best viewed as a series of concentric circles, each orbiting around the great gift he has given the world. Call it pulse, call it heartbeat, call it freedom,  Haden uses his acoustic bass to find currents that have come to define schools of jazz musicians who rely more on feeling than stylistic convention. When Haden plays, he quickly gets to the essence, grounding the music powerfully and always emotionally.

Haden is a veteran of several previous Healdsburg Jazz Festivals, which is not surprising, considering their shared values. Thanks in part to an NEA  Arts Works grant, more than 20 musicians – some going back decades with Haden – will perform at the Jackson Theater, south of Healdsburg.   

Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Charlie Haden’s career begins in Shenandoah, Iowa, when at 2 years old he began singing folk and country songs on the radio with his family. When polio damaged his vocal cords at age 15, he took up the acoustic bass.  Seeking experience in jazz, he moved to Los Angeles in 1957.

His talent quickly got him jobs with Hampton Hawes, Paul Bley and Art Pepper, among others. But it was a chance encounter with a young unknown eccentric playing a plastic saxophone that put into motion the band that flung the jazz world on its heels. His name was Ornette Coleman and he ignited a spark that already lived inside Haden – one that saidBill Frisell improvisation could be about following the melody and spirit of a song, not just chord changes and bar lines.

After years with Coleman and later with pianist Keith Jarrett, Haden embarked on an unusual project that brings us now to Healdsburg. 

In 1969 the bassist hired pianist/composer Carla Bley to arrange music for a big-band project largely about the Spanish Civil War. Called Liberation Music Orchestra, its personnel included Dewey Redman, Don Cherry, Roswell Rudd, Paul Motian, Howard Johnson and others.

The bassist’s career took off in multiple directions after that, but over the decades he would always find new musicians to recharge the Liberation Music Orchestra, which stands with Quartet West (June 1) as one of his defining missions.

Ravi Coltrane by George WellsAt Healdsburg on Sunday, June 2, he will do it again, with some of the artists who played on the last LMO album, 2005’s Not in Our Name, and a few new additions. Should Haden himself be unable to perform in all sets, the formidable Darek Oles (a.k.a. Oleszkiewicz) will stand in.

The personnel includes Haden and Bley;  saxophonists Chris Cheek, Chris Potter and Loren Stillman; trombonist Curtis Fowlkes; drummer Matt Wilson; tuba player Joe Daley; trumpeters Seneca Black and Michael Rodriguez; French horn player Vincent Chancey  and  guitarist Bill Frisell

Astonishing Cuban-born pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba will start off the first set on Sunday, playing solo. In between that and LMO will be Haden’s kids –  singing triplet daughters Petra, Rachel and Tanya, and bassist son Josh – all in various combinations with Bill Frisell.  Then the Liberation Music Orchestra will be the climax of the festival’s weekend tribute to Charlie Haden.