Jazz Legend Charlie Haden Inducted into CAJ Hall of Fame

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The California Alliance for Jazz (CAJ) recently revealed this year’s inductees for its Hall of Fame, with the late legendary jazz double bassist, bandleader, and CalArts faculty Charlie Haden among the three 2024 music educators. (Mary Fettig and Curtis Gaesser were also honored.) 

Bassist and vocalist Josh Haden accepted the award on his father’s behalf at the California All-State Music Education Conference, which ran from Wednesday, Jan. 31 through Sunday, Feb. 4. Haden celebrated the distinction several CalArtians, all of whom are music educators: Tina Raymond (Music MFA 10) from California State University Northridge, David Tranchina (Music MFA 08) from San Gabriel Unified Elementary Schools, Beth Schenck (Music MFA 02) from San Francisco Day School; Kris Tiner (Music MFA 03) from Bakersfield College; Richard Lloyd Giddens Jr. (Music MFA 09) from Fresno State University, Nathaniel Coyne (Music MFA 10) from Jefferson Middle School San Gabriel Unified, and CalArts President Ravi Rajan.

Eight music educators standing as man in middle holds plaque with CAJ engraved
L-R: Beth Schenck, Kris Tiner, Tina Raymond, Ravi Rajan, Josh Haden, Richard Lloyd Giddens Jr., Nathaniel Coyne, David Tranchina

With a distinguished career spanning more than a half-century, Haden founded the Jazz Studies Program at The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, where he served as faculty for more than three decades. Since his passing in 2014, his legacy is upheld by the hundreds of musicians he taught during his tenure at the Institute, and is memorialized in the annual Charlie Haden/CalArts Artist in Residence series, during which guest artists are invited to introduce their music to School of Music students and faculty.

More about Haden from CAJ

Building on the work of predecessors such as Jimmy Blanton and Charles Mingus, Haden helped to revolutionize the harmonic concept of bass playing in jazz, evolving a style that sometimes complemented the soloist, and other times moved independently, liberating bassists from a strictly accompanying role, to allow more direct participation in group improvisation.

German musicologist Joachim-Ernst Berendt wrote that Haden’s “ability to create serendipitous harmonies by improvising melodic responses to [Ornette] Coleman’s free-form solos (rather than sticking to predetermined harmonies) was both radical and mesmerizing. His virtuosity lies in an incredible ability to make the double bass ‘sound out.’ Haden cultivated the instrument’s gravity as no one else in jazz. He is a master of simplicity which is one of the most difficult things to achieve.

CAJ boasts another CalArts connection, with drummer, composer, and educator Raymond is the alliance’s president-elect.

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PUBLISHED BY Taya Zoormandan

As digital content and social media producer, Taya enjoys lifting up the stories and accomplishments of CalArts' students, alums, and faculty. She fancies herself a visual artist but is really more of an overzealous collector of art supplies.

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