Let's reconvene for a Saturday Evening Post and Round 2 of Black History Month.
This one's been around on bootleg CDs throughout the last 30 years, but it got rebroadcast in 2019 so let's get it circulating from the best source.
Obviously if you don't know who Ornette Coleman was, you probably shouldn't be reading this. And probably aren't.
This 1968 European tour is pretty legendary; a quartet offensive in a year of upheaval worthy of the cathartic sounds and atomized, reconstituted structures -- old and new -- present in the music.
It's got maybe my personal favorite version of his now-standard signature piece leading it off, after the incomprehensible Italians introduce it all.
I wish I knew what they were saying, and I left their yakking in so maybe someone can eventually summarize it for me.
But back to the music. Ornette probably made uptight traditionalist dogmatics piss their drawers as much if not more than even Stravinsky did in the first part of the 20th century, and this set reflects that.
Don't expect a Free Jazz tectonic explosion of cacaphonous maelstrom, though. This is music taken to extremes, but presented in an immaculate way that turns the expectation of that cliché on its head.
Did I mention there are not one but two bass players? They both are vital to the music and they both make it talk for the whole four tunes, often in tandem.
If you dig this kind of music this is as essential a document as any of it at its pinnacle, with one foot in the Jazz familiar and one in the galactic center of the outer limits as what once seemed like the world fragments all around the everything.
And of course the immortal Eddie Blackwell plays his ass completely off his body as usual.
Ornette Coleman Quartet
Room A of the CPRF
01 Pino Saulo presentation
02 Adriano Mazzoletti announcement
03 Lonely Woman
04 Monsieur Le Prince
05 Forgotten Children
06 Buddha Blues
07 FM outro
Total time: 1:00:11
Ornette Coleman - alto saxophone, trumpet & shenai
Charlie Haden - bass
David Izenzon - bass
Ed Blackwell - drums
digital capture of an Italian RAI Radio3 rebroadcast
289 MB FLAC/February 2020 archive link
I'll be back before too long and there may even be a milestone birthday coming up that has nothing to do with BHM, but which I'm going to celebrate anyway because I said so and I'm Emperor.
For now we are still firmly in February, and all month we are gonna supply Great Black Music ancient and future, so you gotta feast your ears on this thermonuclear Ornette set, recorded 52 years ago today.--J.
3.9.1930 - 6.11.2015