Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Canadian-born "jazz poet" Paul Haines is best known to jazz fans for his work as a lyricist with composer Carla Bley, specifically the hugely ambitious concept album Escalator Over the Hill (1971) and its follow-up, Tropic Appetites (1973). Haines' librettos for those works reflected his penchant for surrealism and clever wordplay. Prior to those engagements, Haines had spent some time on the Greenwich Village scene during the '60s, where he made connections on the jazz circuit and occasionally penned liner notes or captured informal recordings on home equipment. After his success with Bley, he occasionally resurfaced in the jazz world as a lyrical collaborator, most notably in the '90s with the band Curlew (1993's A Beautiful Western Saddle) and its leader George Cartwright (1994's Dot). Also in 1994, Kip Hanrahan's American Clave label released the double-disc Darn It! Poems by Paul Haines, Musics by Many, a tribute of sorts featuring musicians of all stripes interpreting Haines' texts. Some of the bigger names on the project included Paul Bley, Evan Parker, prog rocker Robert Wyatt, Derek Bailey, Cream's Jack Bruce, Big Star frontman Alex Chilton, Roswell Rudd, Don Pullen, and Henry Threadgill. In addition to writing poetry and lyrics, Haines was also a filmmaker and world traveler, and his daughter Emily -- born during a sojourn in India -- later co-founded the indie pop group Metric. Haines passed away at his Ennismore, Ontario, home on January 21, 2003, the victim of heart failure.