Charlie Haden with
Geri Allen & Ravi Coltrane
Produced in association with Jill Newman Productions
and the Healdsburg High School Jazz Band
Location: Raven Theater
Address: 115 North Street, Healdsburg
Time: 7:30 pm (please note start time)
Tickets: $45 General, $65 Gold Circle
“Few artists have availed themselves of America’s creative freedom more than Haden.”
—San Jose Mercury News
Charlie Haden has forged a brilliant career out of seizing the musical moment. He returns to Healdsburg for an unprecedented trio encounter with pianist Geri Allen, with whom he first recorded more than two decades ago, and tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, the son of Haden’s late partner in sonic revolution, John Coltrane. “No matter who I’m playing with, spontaneity takes priority,” Haden says. “Making something happen that’s never happened before, that’s what I stress more than anything else. And I seek out musicians that feel the way that I do.”
Haden found his first group of likeminded improvisers in late 1950s Los Angeles, where he became a founding member of Ornette Coleman’s radical but blues-drenched quartet. In a generation rife with bassists boasting flawless technique, Haden stood out as a player capable of expressing the deepest of emotions with seemingly simple, harmonically open lines. His gift for cutting to the heart of a composition while leaving ample space for other musicians has made Haden a galvanizing collaborator, whether anchoring Keith Jarrett’s classic 1970s quartet, caressing spirituals with Hank Jones, creating moody film noir-inspired albums with Quartet West or leading his politically charged Liberation Music Orchestra.
The brilliant pianist Geri Allen was given a boost by Haden himself in the late 1980s. The Detroit native had already earned a reputation as a fierce improviser through her edgy work with Steve Coleman and the M-Base Collective when Haden and drummer Paul Motian joined her in a searching trio that revealed her burnished lyricism. Now an esteemed master herself, Allen has recorded more than a dozen albums, including two 2006 sessions that reflect her broad, historically grounded vision. She spearheaded “Zodiac Suite: Revisited,” which brought to light a forgotten masterpiece by the seminal pianist/composer Mary Lou Williams, and released “Timeless Portraits and Dreams” (Telarc), a soaring project that effectively bridges jazz, spirituals and classical music.
While his surname attracted attention when he first started performing in New York, Ravi Coltrane has taken his time developing his own sound. Like Allen, he spent formative years with altoist Steve Coleman. He and the pianist have worked together frequently, and she performed on his second album “From the Round Box.” He’s truly come into his own in recent years, holding his own with Joe Lovano and David Liebman on the 2008 Saxophone Summit album “Seraphic Light.” Last year he toured extensively with the Blue Note 7, an all-star band assembled to celebrate the label’s 75th year, and released the luminous album “Blending Times” (ArtistShare), which features Haden’s ravishing composition “For Turiya,” a piece the bassist wrote years ago for Ravi’s mother, Alice Coltrane.