Saturday, January 28, 2006

ornette coleman 1978

it's official: i'm now enjoying the riches to be found at and one of the first things to be a real ear-opener (partly cuz i've not been listening to much jazz lately, brain not seeming capable of the kind of attention the music requires) is an ornette coleman sextet show from berlin in july 1978.

but first: an anecdote. i was in downtown music gallery with bill and kevin, probably when we went up for the cecil taylor show at castle clinton (or possible for the vision festival), and manny lunch was pushing these ornette coleman CD-Rs on us, vinyl transfers of stuff that's not yet been reissued on vinyl (or was of quasi-bootleg status to begin with), and he's playing the first track of one of the early prime time band records and a few seconds in and i'm like hey waitaminute, that's rites of spring. and everyone's like what, and i'm like that, that horn lick, that's the opening oboe melody on stravinsky's rites of spring.

Of Human Feelings by Ornette Colemanthen on some subsequent trip to philly -- i think it was subsequent, and i think it was late december 2005 when i was there for the MLA -- i picked up ornette coleman's Of Human Feelings, a 1979 session that came out on a 1982 LP he did for the antilles label (the budget division of island records -- god i wonder which of the big five bought up those rights? which is of course why you won't see it reissued on CD anytime soon) which i found at a.k.a. for seven bucks. when i brought it home and put on side one i realized it was the same CD-R that manny lunch was trying to sell us at DMG with the rites of spring lick.

all this by way of saying that the ornette coleman sextet show, live at the quartier latin in berlin, july 4 1978, opens with that same damn track with the rits of spring lick. it's called "sleep talk," and unlike the 3:31 version on the LP, this live version is a 20:29 blowout! i've not listened to the of human feelings album much cuz it just sounded a little to clean and tight and, well, like disco or something. (peter niklas wilson calls it "probably the catchiest, yes, one could even say the most commercial album, that Coleman had recorded up until 1979" (Ornette Coleman: His Life and Music, page 206). this live show however rocks. it really sounds like what would happen if you crossed bitches brew with ornette's free jazz record: loose and chaotic where the former is tight and controlled. so you can bet i'll go back to the album and whatever others i can find cuz i really don't know this period in coleman's work well at all.

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