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RIP bassist, jazz great, teacher Charlie Haden

Charlie Haden concluded the emotional evening by telling his students:
Charlie Haden concluded the emotional evening by telling his students: "See you at class on Tuesday."
Steve Gunther

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UPDATE 7/11/2014 (Associated Press): Bassist Charlie Haden, who helped change the shape of jazz a half-century ago as a member of the groundbreaking Ornette Coleman Quartet, has died. He was 76. Haden, who had in recent years suffered from post-polio syndrome, died Friday in Los Angeles from the prolonged illness. Tina Pelikan of ECM Records says Haden's wife and children were by his side.

Charlie Haden, the bass player and composer, has worked with musicians such as Keith Jarrett, Ornette Coleman and his own Liberation Music Orchestra. 

Off-Ramp producer Kevin Ferguson went to REDCAT  in Downtown L.A. recently for a rare performance by Haden as he conducted his Liberation Music Orchestra, composed entirely of CalArts ​students. 

Raised in the Ozarks, Haden thrived on music his entire life. As a child, he sang folk and country music before contracting polio at 15, damaging his voice. Determined to stick with music, he took up the double bass and has become one of jazz's most important contributors to the instrument.

On the iconic free jazz record "The Shape of Jazz to Come," you can hear him follow Ornette Coleman's lead but build a solid foundation for the band, too:

Haden's had health problems lately — his polio symptoms have resurfaced. He struggles with speaking and said he hasn't eaten solid food in three years. Guests wondered out loud if tonight might be his last show.

Haden was undeterred.

Want to read more? Our own Oscar Garza was there, too. He wrote a review for KPCC's Without a Net blog.