Archive for January, 2015

Courage love and listening: thinking about the loss of Charlie Haden

Posted in Uncategorized on January 1, 2015 by Josslyn Luckett


Happy New Year!!!

I had hoped to post a few days ago to remember the greats who became ancestors in 2014 and this morning Charlie Haden is on my mind especially. Throughout the painful days of this past couple months regarding racial violence and police brutality, it’s guys like Charlie Haden who help me. He helps me remember there are courageous white men who actually love, value, revere, deeply listen to,┬ástudy from and celebrate black people. I’m pretty sure the last time I saw him play was in L.A. with Alice Coltrane who he loved so deeply. I think of the time he lifted up the black liberation movements in Mozambique and Angola and got himself arrested after a gig with Ornette in Portugal. And this morning I reread these beautiful lines from an old piece by Rafi Zabor in Musician magazine (published in the great anthology of jazz writings from that magazine: The Jazz Musician: 15 years of interviews edited by Mark Rowland and Tony Scherman). Dig this:

“People ask me what I think about when I’m improvising, and I have to tell them there’s no thought process. You have to get to know music as you would a person, and get close to music as you would to a friend, and the closer you get, the nearer you are to touching music, and when you’re really playing, when you’re really touching music, if you try to remember back you’ll see that your ears become your mind, your feelings become you mind, and there is no thought process as far as the intellect is concerned. It’s coming from the emotions and from whatever energy is passing from the music to you. The ego goes away. Or should I say, you reach a place where there is no ego, and in doing that you see yourself in relation to the rest of the universe, and you see your unimportance in relation to the rest of the universe, and in seeing your unimportance you begin to see your importance. You see that it’s important to have respect and reverence for life and music, and in being able to do that you get close to being honest in your playing.”

I miss Jimmy Scott to the core, miss Horace Silver too…still I am heaviest with the loss of Haden because these times need men like him so much, to model this kind of humanity. Deep deep bows of gratitude for what you modeled Mr. Haden. I’ll go listen to Steal Away now and imagine you and Hank Jones swinging in the New Year wherever you are…