The voice on the phone was practically unrecognizable and difficult to understand, but the name was unmistakable. Charlie Haden, one of the most revered bassists in jazz history and a musician I had covered for decades, was calling.
Of course I asked him how he was, though his distress was obvious. "I wish I could say I was great," he said. "Post-polio syndrome." Haden died Friday in Los Angeles at age 76, after a prolonged struggle with POST-POLIO SYNDROME.
"I can't swallow food," Haden said on the phone that January afternoon last year. "I haven't eaten solid food in two years. One of the things polio does is it takes away your energy. They don't know very much about it. They should be a lot more aware of what polio is. There's no medicine that they can give me." Before I could ask Haden much more, he said he needed to stop talking.