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Articles | Featured | Future

RADIO

Ornette@50, Bird vs. Hays & more

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We have a lot of ground to cover this week. After our starting half-hour of 21st century music, we have a compare/contrast of Charlie Parker versus a Kevin Hays deconstruction of “Scrapple from the Apple." The day of broadcast on WHYR was Art Tatum's birthday; so we have a rare recording of an airshot from WTAM radio in Cleveland, when Art was 24 years old. We continue our Sonny Rollins celebration with a sideman gig for J.J. Johnson ...

RADIO

A Jazz Lover's guide to Popular Music

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This week we explore the cross pollination between jazz and popular music genres, like pop, rock, soul, funk and ska. Archie Shepp playing with Whitney Houston? The jazz beginnings of Björk, Serge Gainsbourg, Sacha Distel? Ornette Coleman's and Sonny Rollins' adventures in rock-land? Lester Bowie playing ska? How Miles Davis' “So What" inspired Pee Wee Ellis' horn lines for James Brown's “Cold Sweat"? Paul Simon's latest album with Bill Frisell and Wynton Marsalis? Stevie Wonder jamming with Dizzy ...

THE VINYL POST

The Atlantic Years

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Now that the vinyl boom has officially become big business, it is not surprising that major labels are scrambling to put together reissue projects from their back catalogs that will benefit from this cash cow. Rhino has already successfully tapped their holdings for superb mono boxed sets from both John Coltrane and Ray Charles. For their latest endeavor, they have turned to an artist on the fringes of jazz popularity. Ornette Coleman is far from being a household name and ...

BOOK REVIEWS

As Serious As Your Life: Black Music And The Free Jazz Revolution 1957-1977

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As Serious As Your Life: Black Music And The Free-Jazz Revolution, 1957-1977 Val Wilmer 408 Pages ISBN: 978 1 78816 071 1 Serpent's Tail 2018 First published in 1977, journalist, author and black music historian Val Wilmer's As Serious As Your Life... makes a welcome print return at a time when jazz excites perhaps greater and more meaningful historical debate than ever before. The title--the subtitle is a new addition--is from ...

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 ...