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BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Ornette Coleman

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June 11th 2015 was one of those momentous days in jazz history that can truly be said to signal the end of an era--it was the day Ornette Coleman died. It is a mark of his stature that, on the day in question, when jazz fans told each other, “Ornette is dead" no-one ever asked, “Ornette who?" As with Elvis or Miles, one name was sufficient. There have been other Colemans, but there was only ever one Ornette...

GENIUS GUIDE TO JAZZ

The Day the Music Died

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On one of my infrequent trips outside the 'Dome recently, I stopped at a convenience store for a cold Coke Zero when I noticed a man about my age (48. 52, in heels) driving a red 1988 Pontiac Trans Am and blasting Whitesnake's “Here I Go Again" on his car stereo. He wore Zubaz workout pants that were at least twenty years out of style, a faded Def Leppard T-shirt, and sported a greying mullet. In that moment, I could ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Ornette Coleman at the Golden Circle - 1965

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Let's start with a disclaimer: I'm not a fan of free jazz. So why would I even bother with an album I was pretty sure I'd dislike? There's a practical answer: It was on sale. I was in a record store recently that was having a buy-one-get-one-for-$1 sale. So I got a CD I knew I'd like and then saw Ornette Coleman at the Golden Circle, Volume One. Did I mention I collect Blue Note CDs? It's the ...

Ornette Coleman and Humanity: Parts 1 and 2

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Part One When we sleep, we're often in commune with our soul. As you wake, you may receive some gentle messages for you to try and remember or use. A few years back as I was waking up I felt that everything in my life was about to change in a way I could never expect. A massive shift was imminent. Shortly after that photographer John Rogers introduced me to Ornette Coleman. I'll always be very grateful to ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Ornette Coleman / Bachir Attar / The Master Musicians of Jajouka:The Road to Jajouka

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Bringing together Moroccan traditional trance musicians with free spirits such as saxophonists Ornette Coleman and John Zorn, bassist/producer Bill Laswell, guitarist Marc Ribot, DJ Logic and drummer Billy Martin has instant appeal. It sounds like an andrenaline-pumping, trippy exercise on paper and for much of the journey it's just that. And it's all for a good cause too, that's to say, the preservation and promotion of an ancient musical form. Yet the story behind the Master Musicians of Jajouka almost ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ornette Coleman / Bachir Attar / The Master Musicians of Jajouka: The Road to Jajouka

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Jazz has been mixing it up with traditional Moroccan music for almost fifty years. Pianist Randy Weston was a pioneer in the late 1960s, followed by saxophonist Ornette Coleman in the early 1970s. A modern successor to those early adventurers is Boston's Club D'Elf, which describes itself as a “Moroccan-dosed psychedelic dub and jazz collective." Club D'Elf's 2011 double set, Electric Moroccoland (Face Pelt), featuring keyboard player John Medeski and turntablist DJ Logic, convincingly channelled the intensity of Morrocan trance ...

THE MORT REPORT

Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry Once Blew Us Away Under LA’s Big Top

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Los Angeles/Hollywood, California, in the late 1940s through the early 1960s was a happening place for jazz and jazz musicians. There was always a place to play a jam session, or more correctly session(s)--mostly in beer bars. (I'm not counting the ones that went on all night in some one's pad, if they were lucky enough to live up in one of the many canyons in the Hollywood hills) I've seen many a sunrise from the Laurel and Topanga canyons, ...

REASSESSING

Ornette Coleman: The Missing Years, 1968-1972

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Among Ornette Coleman's periods of relative quiet, the turn of the 1960s into the 1970s may well be the most frustrating. More than three years of musical life--from the final Blue Note sessions of April-May 1968 to the release of Science Fiction on Columbia in 1972--remain shrouded in mystery and obscurity. Every recording made under Coleman's name during this period was done live; worse, all are either unavailable or unauthorized (to slightly varying degrees), forcing fans to hold out for ...

REASSESSING

Ornette Coleman: Free Jazz

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Ornette ColemanFree Jazz: A Collective Improvisation by the Ornette Coleman Double QuartetAtlantic1961 Alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman's masterpiece, Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation by the Ornette Coleman Double Quartet, is one of the hinges of jazz evolution. As a musical hinge, Free Jazz, heard from this side of its development, is a bit of an anticlimax compared with the two-label, five album prelude to this point: Something Else!!!! (Contemporary, 1958), Tomorrow is ...


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