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Grammy honor lifts spirits of ailing jazz legend
Music proved to be therapeutic when guitarist Pat Metheny visited his close friend during a tour stop in Los Angeles in late September.
At Cameron’s urging, Haden picked up his bass and started playing with Metheny. “It was just like picking up where I left off as far as the physical part of your fingers pressing down the strings and the creative process happening inside your soul,” Haden said.
Metheny said the two quickly established the “telepathic rapport” they had in their previous encounters as on their 1997 duo album “Beneath the Missouri Sky,” which earned Haden his first Grammy for best jazz instrumental performance.
“I knew that getting him to play would be good for him _ and for me,” Metheny said in an email. “I think it was good for Charlie to hear himself playing with another musician in real time to remind himself just how great he is. He visibly got stronger as he was playing in a really great way.”
Since then, Haden has been playing at home to his favorite jazz and classical recordings by pianist Bill Evans, Bach and Rachmaninoff _ as well as “Jasmine,” his 2010 duo album with pianist Keith Jarrett, and with visiting friends such as pianist Alan Broadbent. Last week, he resumed teaching at the California Institute of the Arts, where he established the jazz program.
Haden has also begun talking with arranger-composer Carla Bley about reviving their politically-charged Liberation Music Orchestra for a recording about the environment.
“Charlie has a lot of offers but we want to give it another six months to rebuild his stamina,” said Cameron. “It’s a very heart-warming experience for him to feel like there’s hope.”
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