R.I.P. Tommy and Charlie
There were loads of tributes regarding the passing of Tommy Ramone, the last of the original members of the Ramones. It even made the TV3 news last night. They chose to pay tribute by showing clips of the band with Marky Ramone playing drums rather than any early footage with Tommy. But, oh well, they tried...
The passing of the last member of the band - the final nail as it were - had writers out and remembering the impact of the band. Fair enough. And it was sad news I guess - but at least now there can be a Ramones reunion. In a sense.
The sad news of the weekend, for me, was hearing about the death of Charlie Haden. Sad for many reasons - I'd only recently reviewed his latest album, a duo project with Keith Jarrett.
Haden is a jazz legend. But even with credits that show him working with just about everyone - Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Jarrett, Art Pepper, Michael Brecker, Carla Bley, Geri Allen, Ginger Baker and Pat Metheny (and that's just beginning to scratch the surface) - he had my continued interest because it never seemed his best work was behind him.
It was Ginger Baker's Going Back Home album that turned me onto the world of his music. By then I'd already heard him on the legendary Free Jazz album (one of my favourite jazz albums, one of the very important ones in my life) but hearing Going Back Home as a new album at the time of its release gave me reason to check out more of Haden's work. It was the news - then - that he was still alive and making interesting music, contributing to the work of legends.
Haden worked on pop albums too - he played with Beck and Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and he kept working with jazz, inching ideas forward on modern albums by legends of the genre (Alice Coltrane, Abbey Lincoln, Metheny). There were well over a dozen albums by Haden as a leader too.
And then outside of all his work - the albums he appeared on, the groups he was a member of (Liberation Music Orchestra, Quartet West) he was the patriarch of a talented musical family. His name kept coming up for me when I listened to the work of his children. Josh Haden's group Spain, daughters The Haden Triplets, the solo work of Petra Haden; there was even a family album that gathered together ideas across country, jazz, folk and rock and showed how versatile they all were, particularly Charlie.
I listened to Last Dance, the latest album by Charlie Haden and Keith Jarrett (the last album by them) a lot this weekend. It's gentle and perfect.
And then yesterday I dug out my copy of that first Ramones album too.
It's just what you do when you hear that sort of news.
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