Paul Haines RIP

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Only found out about this in the new Wire - no obituaries anywhere else - but Paul Haines, the poet and sometime record producer who wrote the lyrics/libretto for Escalator Over The Hill, died on 21 January of a heart attack in Ennismore, Canada, aged 70.

depressing depressing depressing :-( another of my idols gone...

Marcello Carlin, Monday, 24 March 2003 14:03 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

no, it's good when idols die. then we can climb over their tombs and build beautiful things on top. sorry this guy's dead and all, but it's not worth *actual* depression, now, is it?

pete b. (pete b.), Monday, 24 March 2003 14:09 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

non-arsehole new answers, please.

Marcello Carlin, Monday, 24 March 2003 14:12 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Yes I noticed that. I also noticed recently that Paul Haines had supplied the sleevenotes to an Evan Parker/ Keith Rowe CD I own - needless to say, they were up to his usual incomprehensible standards! Did anyone mention Carla Bley's "Tropic Attitudes" in any obits or did they only mention "Escalator Over the Hill"?

Dadaismus, Monday, 24 March 2003 14:14 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

hey, i'm sorry, i wasn't being rude or mean or anything. i just think it's a funny attitude - if he was still alive would you be a happier person? how? why? genuine question, thanks, i'm curious.

pete b. (pete b.), Monday, 24 March 2003 14:14 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

On Google I could only find a brief obit from Le Monde which mentioned EOTH at length but only namechecked Tropic Appetites. A shame, because the latter's a mightily underrated record; more than just a postscript to Escalator.

pete b: i am, as all ile regulars know, extremely depressed at the moment for lots of other reasons, so i am also extra-sensitive to people dying to whom i looked up in one way or another. that's just the way i am. can't help it.

Marcello Carlin, Monday, 24 March 2003 14:19 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

:-( sorry to hear. will take it elsewhere.

pete b. (pete b.), Monday, 24 March 2003 14:30 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

The below text was originally posted by Cuneiform records on February 3. (Yes, it's LONG. And deserves to be, obv.)It's being reposted here was prompted by Marcello's remark, " obituaries anywhere else..."

> Dear Cuneiform friends and associates;
> My apologies for breaking this news to you in an impersonal email.
> One of the most beloved members of the world of avant jazz, Paul Haines,
> died of a massive heart attack on Wednesday, January 21, 2003. He died in
> Ontario, Canada, his home for many years, where he leaves behind his wife,
> Jo, and children.
> This is neither an obituary of Paul, nor a comprehensive compilation of his
> works. This is merely a notice to those we know in the music community of his
> passing. Paul's impact on the avant jazz world was wide-ranging, and I'm ill
> equipped to give justice to his achievements. I leave that to those of you
> who are professional journalists and music historians.
> In brief, Paul Haines was a writer (of poems) and a video artist, who both
> documented (in prose & poetic writing, as well as film and video) and
> inspired (his poems transformed into music) the jazz musicians around him.
> Over the years he lived in New York City, New Mexico, India (8 yrs), Paris,
> Kensington, MD (a town near DC, for 1 yr.), and finally Canada, where he
> lived for years in Ontario province, far outside Toronto.
> In 1995, the Toronto periodical *Sub Rosa* published a special issue devoted
> to the work of Paul Haines. The opening essay, written by Tom Sekowski,
> focused on Paul's poems. In Tom's words: "Where do you begin in capturing
> Paul Haines' life? On paper? On film? On Vinyl? The answer is all three. My
> job, however, is to present the Paul Haines that I'm most familiar with -
> the... central Ontarian, musicologist-extraordinaire, poem writer with steel
> balls like no other. ...for starters, he makes it clear (beyond any
> reasonable doubt), that he does not write poetry. He writes poems. No more,
> no less, gorgeous little vignettes of life as he sees it at any given point
> in time, wherever he might be.... Anything that can look itself in the mirror
> and honestly say, I am I, is a poem of Paul's. ...Paul speaks the truth as he
> sees it."
> Paul's poems have appeared in tradional printed formats: in books and
> periodicals. In 1981, a collection his poems, called *Third World Two*, was
> published by Alliance Press. (Another chapbook was to be published in Canada
> in the 1990s.) His poems have been published in magazines in the US
> (magazines such as First Person and Genesis West/San Francisco), Canada
> (Evidence, MusicWorks, Only Paper Today, Sub Rosa Parachute/Montreal); in New
> Delhi, India; and in France (on the cover of *Improjazz* !).
> But Paul is best known for his written works that have appeared in
> non-traditional/non-literary settings, and especially in his numerous
> collaborations with jazz musicians. Samples of his poetry and prose have
> been printed on the covers or sleeves of jazz albums by Albert Ayler, Paul
> Bley, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Larry Durbin, and Jazz Composer's Orchestra.
> In turn, he has documented jazz musicians within his poetry, as well as
> recording them on tape; biographers note that he was the recording engineer
> of such significant 1960 works as *Spiritual Unity*, *School Days* (1961-63
> Steve Lacy Quartet) and *New York Eye and Ear Control*...
> Above all, Paul is known as the poet whose writings were set to music by some
> of the late 20th C's most forward-looking jazz musicians, songs which formed
> the core of some of the most seminal, significant avant-jazz releases of the
> 20th Century. His first such collaboration with jazz musicians was *Escalator
> Over The Hill*, a jazz-opera created with Carla Bley and released in
> 1971(JCOA 1971; ECM/BMG). *Escalator Over the Hill* is a landmark work; it
> broke down the boundaries between artistic disciplines, between musical
> genres, between "high" and "low" art. In its brochure for Company Week 92,
> the London Arts Board called Paul:
> "..a serious but not solemn artist [who]... has considerably expanded the
> traditional role of the poet. His longstanding artistic involvement with
> music has produced some extraordinary rethinking of the relationship between
> the word and sound and one of the most revelatory collaborations in
> contemporary recording. Escalator Over the Hill, created with composer Carla
> Bley, is widely considered the seminal work of the new music of the 1970's"
> Paul's second work of poems set to music, also done in collaboration with
> Carla Bley, was *Tropic Appetities*, released in 1974 (Watt/1).
> We at Cuneiform met Paul through composer and saxophonist George Cartwright,
> who set Paul's poems to music for his band Curlew's performance with vocalist
> Amy Denio at 1989's New Music America, then the premiere showcase of avant
> music in the US. Paul made a video of their performance at the Knitting
> Factory (see below for more on his videos).
> Several years later, in 1993, Cuneiform released *A Beautiful Western
> Saddle*, a CD featuring music by Curlew (each Curlew member composed a piece
> for the CD, with George contributing the rest), vocals by Amy Denio, and
> lyrics by Paul Haines. The CD remains one of my personal favorites of all
> times. It was the first Curlew CD that Cuneiform released that was not purely
> instrumental, the first Curlew CD with words. Paul would do that to musicians
> - his work inspired them to try things they had not done before, to explore
> alternative paths, unexpected juxtapositions.....
> *A Beautiful Western Saddle" received an astounding amount of critical
> acclaim, from publications such as the *New York Times*, *Down Beat*,
> *Cadence*, *Coda*, *Boston Rock*, *Exclaim!* (Canada), *Musiche* (Italy),
> *Esculpiendo Milagros* (Argentina), *Beat* (Norway), and *Opscene*
> (Netherlands), among many others. *Down Beat* would later name this CD one
> of the best CDs of the 1990s, in its issue at the end of the millennium.
> Quite simply, the collaboration - like every such venture that Paul partook
> in - uniquely worked. Stuart Broomer (*Coda*) noted that "Curlew articulates
> the edge of Haines' work, the precision of his verbal outline. Their
> settings.... feed off the ever increasing resilience of Haines' poems. Haines
> has proceeded through the years to boil his poems down to less, until they
> are crystalline flashes in which image and meaning merge, sometimes as comic
> shards of the true light....miracles subtly contaminated with reality."
> George Cartwright had originally met Paul Haines through Kip Hanrahan in the
> 1970s, when Paul was setting poems to music for a video. (George would also
> contribute some music to the video.) In 1995, Kip Hanrahan's American Clave
> label released *Darn It*, a double CD that had been over 6 years in the
> making. It was the 4th release to feature Paul's poems set to music. A
> tribute to Paul's work,*Darn It!* featured 33 songs by Robert Wyatt, Paul and
> Carla Bley, Derek Bailey, John Oswald, Michael Snow, Roswell Rudd, Bornean
> Drummers, Evan Parker, Andrew Cyrille, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Jack Bruce,
> George Cartwright, and numerous others... Like *Saddle*, the CD received wide
> critical acclaim. In the words of one critic:
> "So what makes *Darn It!* so damn special? I could go on an on about its
> stellar line up....The flow is never once broken, even though the songs seem
> to break abruptly from blues, to jazz, to rock, to improvised fields. And it
> works. The record is musically second to none, while lyrically it's a crafty
> gem, dying to be found amongst the desert of (most of) the crap that's out
> there in the record stores." [Tom Sekowski, *The Newspaper*, Toronto.]
> Following his *Beautiful Western Saddle* release with Curlew, George
> Cartwright continued to incorporate Paul's poetry into two solo recordings he
> released on Cuneiform: *Dot* (1994) and *The Memphis Years* (2000). *Dot*
> featured Paul's lyrics in a single song, "Raw Bird", sung by vocalist (and
> Curlew bassist) Ann Rupel. In George's second solo release, he collaborated
> once again with Paul Haines and Amy Denio. A tribute to George's 5-year
> involvement in Memphis' music scene, *The Memphis Years* also featured some
> of that city's finest musicians. The resulting CD was a blending of strictly
> composed songs sung by Denio, with lyrics from Paul Haines, and composed and
> semi-improvisational jazz-oriented instrumentals. George's admiration for
> Paul's work is underlined in his *Memphis* liner notes, which I excerpt here :
> "You can't really see it or touch it, you can taste it from time to time and,
> when blessed, you can hear it and it ain't going away tho you got to look
> closely to not be fooled... In fact *It Came From Memphis*... I believe you
> can hear a little bit of it here maybe not all maybe occasionally but always
> in some stream or layer or veil of the truly undefinable it is there. ...It's
> also in Seattle with Amy and up in Canada with Paul. Great singer, great
> writer. ...Just listen and not particularly idiommatic crushed amalgam of
> bits and pieces laid out and slapped back to a whole... post Ornette
> (...really more likely pre-Ornette musics...) ...and what did I say about
> Paul? Maybe the best we got folks. Hey see if ya can find any of his books...
> So much with so little so check out *Third World 2*. Check out *Escalator
> Over the Hill* and *Tropic Appetites* and and and *A Beautiful Western
> Saddle.* Ha!"
> Paul was a joy to work with and a pleasure to know. We began communicating
> while doing promotion for the Cuneiform *Saddle* CD, first via letter, then
> fax, and finally by email. As our communications became less formal, Paul
> unveiled his priceless humor. (Supposedly Jean-Paul Sartre claimed that
> Haines was the only person who could pun in French and make Sartre laugh.) I
> received xerox and fax objets d'art, surrealist images and newspaper
> collages, on letterheads from the Council of Pet Ball Amnesty with return
> addresses from Craig Stephen Stew Jr., Wardell Windeggs, Nausea Phil and
> others.... These were followed by a suspect *Down Beat* poll listing
> Jean-Paul Sarte as the #2 top male vocalist, and a cassette described by Paul
> as "easy-listening gaslight" music....
> In a serious moment, on my request, he sent me a page of info on himself. It
> included two press quotes:
> from the *Boston Globe*, Fernando Gonzales, Dec 7, 1991:
> "Actively associated with some of the most progressive musicians in jazz for
> almost 30 years, Haines' writing moves in quirky, unpredicatable rhythms,
> with a love for sound, surprise, and tart, understated humor."
> and from *MusicWorks* #34:
> "Paul Haines is a poet who writes about music. He has been for several years
> a harbinger listener, someone who is always listening to the musicians
> everyone someday will talk about. In recent years he has produced several
> videos which read hearing, pictorially."
> In addition to being a writer (and recording jazz musicians such as Albert
> Ayler, Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd), Paul was an active video artist. He told
> me that his videos had been shown in London (Company Week, The Vortex
> Theatre, and Canada House), Toronto (The Music Gallery; This Ain't the
> Rosedale Library); Edmonton (Latitude 53 Gallery); New York City (49th
> Paralllel); Amsterdam (The Holland Festival); Banff (Banff Centre) and
> Peterborough, Ontario (Arts Space).
> He also sent me an annotated list of his video productions. I quote his
> descriptioms directly from his 1993 fax to me:
> JUBILEE (1992 21 mins)
> "Using as a shooting script an article on sound I wrote for Musicwroks, [The
> Canadian Journal of Sound Exploration), JUBILEE features a visual chorus to
> the Carol Taylor narrative and spoken or played contributions of Robert
> Wyatt, Evan Parker, and Derek Bailey."
> OUR RUDD'S GOLDEN CURTAIN (1992 19 mins)
> "Shot at Sharon Temple, Ontario and Woodstock, New York, the composition,
> trombone, voice, feet and wardrobe of legendary trombonist Roswell Rudd are
> featured."
> "From the Sri Cud novel."
> AN ALL-ETHNIC ELECTRIC PROGRAM (1992 transfer from 1966 16mm., 25 mins)
> "Perhaps the first 'absolute' sound film. A curious but very beautiful work."
> -- David Curtis, Experimental Film
> "Those who stayed to the end liked it." -- Michael Snow
> CURLEW: Paul Haines Set to Music (1989 44 mins)
> New Music America Festival, with Amy Denio vocals, The Knitting Factory, New
> York City
> "A cycle of songs as a setting for the oblique, witty poems of Paul Haines.
> CURLEW performs at its peak -- which is phenomenally high." -- The Nation
> "Premiere performance of the agfa maria. (This instrument's appearance of
> capacities is conceived in part as respectful parody of Harry Partch's
> chromelodeon. Physically resembling a glass harmonica, its three rows of
> authentically-wired bottles creates (1) conventional musical notes, (2)
> prepared sounds, and (3) prepared visuals.) A music for more than ears.
> Improvisation is deregulated."
> THIRD WORLD TWO (1981 50mins)
> "50 poems (French and English) read or sung by an all-star cast, with
> original music by Carla Bley, Derek Bailey, Steve Swallow and Sheila Jordan."
> "20 years of collaborations, opening on the scoreboard of the Olympia
> Stadium, Montreal. Paul Bley, Rudd-Lacy, Albert Ayler, Mike Mantler, Gary
> Burton, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Larry Dubin-CCMC, Carla Bley, Monica
> Zetterland, Stuart Broomer, and Kip Hanrahan."
> Paul and I remained in touch but communicated less frequently in the busy
> years post *Saddle* and *Darn It!*. Then, in the spring of 2002, I opened my
> snail mail and smiled with surprise: there was Paul and one of his poems
> staring at me from the cover of the French jazz magazine, *Improjazz*. Paul
> always had a habit of putting things in unexpected contexts, creating
> juxtapositions that surprised and jolted like an electroshock to the brain
> while revealing the truth. Now here he was, in a context I would have never
> expected but which made complete sense.... We began communicating via email,
> far easier than our past mail and fax communiques.... Paul's emails ranged
> from serious commentary on the sorry state of American politics post
> elections and post 9/11, to his distinctive oblique, insightful and humourous
> texts. He talked of visiting DC with his wife in the winter, to see the
> Pierre Bonnard exhibition, and possibly visiting with us. We moved our
> offices into a building we were not embarrased to have friends see, and
> looked forward to hearing from them. And then we received a phone call from
> George Cartwright, Paul's very close friend, telling us of the bad news....
> Perhaps we should read Sekowski's comments on Paul's CDs in the context of
> Paul's passing, substituting "life" for "music": "When all the music is
> played, there's always Paul's poems. Honest, trying, sometimes hilarious, but
> always dependable. Like an old friend, they'll forever be there when your
> brain needs a meal."
> But I'm sure I speak for many when I say that our hearts that will starve in
> Paul's absence.
> ---
> For those who want to read about Paul's work, here's a partial bio:
> *SUB ROSA* [Peterborough, Ontario, Canada], vol. 5 No. 1, Spring 1995 issue
> devoted entirely to "Paul Haines: Poetry/ Video/ Jazz", by Tom Sekowski,
> Stuart Broomer, Roswell Rudd and Michel Contat.
> "Paul Haines" by Andrew Jones, *JAZZIZ*, November 1995
> "Paul Haines / Now Can You Tell Me: An Article by Stuart Bloomer: Words and
> Music: A Beautiful Western Saddle", *CODA MAGAZINE*, July/Aug 1995
> "Paul Haines - The Musical Psychic", by Tom Sekowski. *EXCLAIM!* [Canada],
> March 1995
> "Paul Haines - Man with a Future Vision", by Tom Sekowski, THE NEWSPAPER
> [Toronto, Canada], 11/23/94
> For info on Haines' poetic collaborations with Curlew, there are numerous
> articles/ reviews, including:
> "Bird on a Wire," Gene Santoro, *The Nation*, March 22, 1993
> ---
> 2/3/03
> Joyce Nalewajk
> Director of Publicity & Promotion
> Cuneiform Records

t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Monday, 24 March 2003 14:34 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Excellent! Thanks for that!

Marcello Carlin, Monday, 24 March 2003 14:38 (sixteen years ago) Permalink


I love "Darn It!," play it all the time. Have seen G. Cartwright a few times too.

Sad loss.

Marcello, hang in there...I'm going thru some bad times myself these days...

Jess Hill (jesshill), Monday, 24 March 2003 17:58 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Marcello, you maybe interested in this tribute on the Radio 3 website:

Tribute to Paul Haines, 1933-2003

DJ Martian (djmartian), Tuesday, 25 March 2003 12:56 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

five months pass...
yeah, i have to give it up to Haines
and i almost got to meet/ correspond him

he's the real Escalator over the Hill chronotransductor
and Bley has proved herself as a great Ron Geesin type hired arranger

part two of escalator is a bit naughty
if you pick up one of those six Sandanista like sides
at random

then you wake up in the India of "Kashmir"

george gosset (gegoss), Sunday, 21 September 2003 16:33 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

sorry, maybe

george gosset (gegoss), Sunday, 21 September 2003 17:43 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...
sorry, or

george gosset (gegoss), Thursday, 24 June 2004 06:24 (fourteen years ago) Permalink


george gosset (gegoss), Thursday, 24 June 2004 06:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

six months pass...
its worse when idols dont die, but faint... when they're still alive but all they put out keeps getting more and more boring and easy...

GEEEZ! tori, i loved you so much, but maybe its a healthy step for me to learn that noone is god-like! not even you!!!


lotte, Friday, 24 December 2004 19:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
strange reason to revive this thread, but after reading through Emily Haines' (of Metric) bio for her new album, i came to realize that she is Paul's daughter

that's so taylrr (ken taylrr), Thursday, 13 July 2006 18:16 (twelve years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...
Funny, I went to high school in Fenelon Falls, Ontario, and Paul Haines was my French teacher. We never really had any idea of this man's accomplishments. When asked, he would tell us that he "helped write a song once for Linda Ronstadt." I have a tape he made for me called "Un Peu de Tout" It is my most prized possession from a man who had a profound effect on my outlook and life. Sartre, The Residents, the film Delicatessan...these were his curriculum for wild, crazy, hormone-overloaded teenagers. Paul Haines taught me to appreciate many different flavours of cinema, music, poems, sounds and many other things. Wow. What a man. I even went to high school with Emily and Avery. What a shock when i couldn't get tickets to a sold-out Metric concert in Montreal. Wow again.


cli0019, Monday, 30 April 2007 06:23 (twelve years ago) Permalink

That's amazing!

Tom D., Monday, 30 April 2007 12:32 (twelve years ago) Permalink

eleven years pass...


meaulnes, Friday, 12 April 2019 01:21 (two months ago) Permalink

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