--Jazz Bassist Charlie Haden, to Terry Gross in All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians, and Artists
Monday, October 17, 2005
Charlie Haden on the Spiritual Dimension of Music
"The hymns especially [gave me a sense that music has a spiritual dimension]. . . .[W]hen I was around nine years old, I was the only child out of six kids [my mother] would take to the African American church in Springfield [Missouri]. We would quietly go in the entrance, and we would sit in the back row, and we would just listen to the choir. It was one of the most beautiful things that I've ever experienced in my life, to hear the spirituals and the gospel music I'll never forget that. Yes, I had a feeling right away that there was spirituality in music. When you talk about jazz, I believe 85 to 90 percent of improvisation in jazz is spiritual. You can go to school and learn the academics of music, and the fundamentals of scales and chords and composition, but when you start to play, you tell a story to people and take them on a journey. It's all about spirituality."