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Celebrated faculty member Charlie Haden performs at Healdsburg Jazz Festival

June 18, 2013

Charlie Haden Overcomes Adversity at Healdsburg Jazz Festival

The buzz in the Jackson Theater was a little more anxious than usual during the pre-show hum of this year’s Healdsburg (Calif.) Jazz Festival, because the one unconfirmed guest at the festival’s Charlie Haden tribute was Charlie Haden himself.

For the past two years Haden has been on a hiatus from jazz as he fights post-polio syndrome, and the Healdsburg festival was meant to be his comeback. Haden was scheduled to headline two days of the festival’s first weekend, June 1–2, but if the performances proved more than his health would allow, bassist Derek Oles, once Haden’s student at California Institute of the Arts, was standing by.

The show began with a set by pianist Geri Allen and saxophonist Chris Potter. Allen entered dressed like a Buddhist monk with a neat pile of dreadlocks on her head and proceeded to play a stunningly introspective program that she said she’d planned “just for Charlie.” Throughout their set, Allen and Potter flowed in and out of each other’s lines with meditative intuition. Allen, who first collaborated with Haden in 1988, opened with “Silence,” one of Haden’s compositions from the period. Read More

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