All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
These are the tunes that have become the stuff of legend. And don’t just take it from this reviewer, ask Pat Metheny and countless others who have found something to say in the early compositions of Ornette Coleman. Either because he was on the West Coast working with Coleman and Don Cherry at the time or because he sees their inherent greatness too, pianist Paul Bley has chosen from the Ornette canon pieces dating from the late ‘50s for this exceedingly bright tribute event.
Bley, at times, can be a brooding musician, although the more carefree exuberance of be-bop is not a foreign concept to him. Here with Notes on Ornette, the darker aspects of Bley’s musical personality suits the pointed and slightly melancholy nature of Coleman’s work. Among the high points, “Crossroads” bristles with frenetic energy, Bley’s clusters across the keyboard (a la Cecil Taylor) clashing against bassist Jay Anderson’s slapping strings. With a joyful noise that answers the musical question, “When Will the Blues Leave?” sprints along at a jovial pace. The longest cut here, “Turnaround” takes it place among other stellar versions in one of the showpieces of the entire set, Bley exhibiting the kind of “classical” chops that allow his fingers to respond instantly to his creative whims.
Another fine item to be added to Bley’s list of SteepleChase classics, this set not only speaks to this trio’s collective veracity but also to Coleman’s enduring genius as a writer. In fact, I’m sure the composer would be proud.
Track Listing: Turnaround, Lorraine, Crossroads, When Will The Blues Leave, Compassion, Rejoicing, AARP (61:09)
Personnel: Paul Bley- piano, Jay Anderson- bass, Jeff Hirshfield- drums
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.