Dear John. I was so sad to hear the news today. This is hard. It is so difficult to find words right now. The brightest, most beautiful, powerful, shining, guiding light has been Ornette Coleman. There is no way I can adequately thank you for taking me to his home and introducing us. Spending time with him and having the chance to play music with him has been one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life. Indescribable. I will never forget it. I am truly blessed.
"John Rogers is a photographer living in New York City who specializes in jazz. A few weeks ago, he approached NPR with the idea to document the unique connection he shared with his friend Ornette Coleman. He was working on it when Coleman died last week at 85. Rogers finished the story for us HERE." —Ed./NPR published 6/15/15
Charlie Haden's memorial at Town Hall on January 13th, 2015
Bill along with Charlie Haden's family, Ravi Coltrane, Brandee Younger, Mark Fain and others perform in celebration.
“Charlie didn’t have sarcasm or irony,” the bassist Putter Smith said at Charlie Haden’s memorial concert at Town Hall on Tuesday. “He had true empathy.”
Empathy is a word heard a lot around jazz musicians, sometimes to the point of cliché. It is understood as a useful background principle. Ideally, improvisers on a bandstand — and many of the greatest ones alive were onstage or in the audience on Tuesday — are making real-time exchanges, and not for a fixed result. In the best cases, they’re trying to extend a communal action beyond what they think they know. If they’re in it for private, short-game reasons, the audience hears it, and the music goes nowhere.