Ornette Coleman

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by MM, Jun 11, 2001.

  1. So I was watching Ken Burns' Jazz yesterday (yeah, yeah I know :) ) and I saw the segment on Ornette Coleman and was really digging it. I realized that this is a major gap in my CD collection. I have quite a bit of jazz but none of his stuff. My question, what Coleman recordings (that are still somewhat musically accessible) would you recommend? TIA
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Try "Song X", with Pat Metheny, Jack DeJohnette and Charlie Haden. Harmonically, it's pretty out there, but I think it has a bit more structure than a lot of Ornette's stuff. The "Naked Lunch" soundtrack is pretty good, too.
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    The Shape Of Jazz To Come
    Free Jazz
    The Art Of The Improvisers
    ...three of my personal favorites
    (In fact, you can save some money NOW by buying the box set of Beauty Is A Rare Thing/The Complete Atlantic Recordings; otherwise, you start nickel & diming as you buy each cd separately). ;)

    New York Is Now
    Love Call
    ...both of these are "related" recordings-
    Coleman, Dewey Redman, Elvin Jones, & Jimmy Garrison. Basically, it's Coltrane's rhythm section playing pretty "straightahead-ish" under the Free blowin' of OC & Redman. Interesting dichotomy of sound...

    ...finally a defintion/explanation of Harmolodics I can relate to. In the Electric Explorations of Miles Davis book(by Paul Tingen), Harmolodics is defined as such: "Rhythm, harmony, & melody are treated as equal & independant entities. Thus, musicians may play similiar phrases, but in entirely different keys, or the drummer may base his rhythm on a melodic phrase, or a melody player may imitate a rhythmic pattern. Like in Bach's music, several voices can play at the same time, but unlike in Bach's music, where polyphonic voices are always subject to the overall harmony, in 'harmolodics', the polyphony is usually atonal".

    In any event, I'm making yet another attempt at Miles' "electric" stuff from the '70s; now knowing that he & his bandmates were goin' for 'harmolodics' in a Free Funk/Rock vibe makes the listening a lot easier(IMO).
    BTW, there's also some Coleman stuff in this Free Funk/Rock vein...Body Meta is one such release along; also the records with Prime Time w/ Jamaladeen Tacuma & Ronald Shannon Jackson.

  4. I like Love Call, I picked it up for Jimmy Garrison but the disk is fairly smooth. JimK has a very good point with the purchase of Beauty Is A Rare Thing. There is also a Ken Burns disk with O.C. that probally has the stuff you heard.

    If Ornettes stuff gets to harsh for you then pick up something by Eric Dolphy or John Coltranes Sun Ship. Not that these are smoother, in fact they are harsher. Ater you listen to these the O.C. stuff will sound smoother again. :D
  5. Barrett


    Apr 1, 2001
    In the '70's, Keith Jarrett did a number of recordings with Ornette's sidemen (Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian); "Treasure Island" is my favorite. A must-have, IMO. I don't know about availability however.
  6. Oh MM, I forgot to say that you should check out www.allmusic.com

    Tons of reviews, tons of info.
  7. Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'll start with Shape of Jazz to Come and go from there.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I was watching the weekly Jazz programme on "Artsworld" (digital TV channel) and they said - live footage from a recent Ornette Coleman gig. I was suprised that he was still gigging and interested to see what he was doing; but was very disappointed in it.

    The band had 2 guitarists, electric bass, electronic keyboards and drums. Ornette was standing well in front of the rest of the band and seemed to have no connection with them at all and while they were playing fairly basic funk-type stuff with very static harmony - he was just playing a sax solo that didn't seem to relate to what was going on. He just seemed to playing for a while with no definite direction and when he stopped the band stopped - nobody seemed to quite know what was going on. :confused:
  9. The upright player in jazz band let me borrow some of his cds and one of them was "The Shape of Jazz to Come" by Ornette Coleman. It was pretty good, actually.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I mentioned the programme I saw, to a Sax player I know at the weekend and he said that this was from the Cheltenham Jazz festival in the UK, which he attended.

    Now this guy has very eclectic taste and was looking forward to seeing a legend like Ornette Coleman; but he amongst several others walked out after a few numbers. The all-electric band were very loud and very "mediocre" - so they didn't seem to be playing "with" Coleman and they didn't seem to have any ideas - I mean if it had been "free Jazz" or something really weird, then people would have accepted this and been interested - but it was just mediocre. :(

    A lot of people were upset as the tickets were pretty expensive and they assumed that a big "name" like Ornette Coleman would have been able to get a band with really good musicians involved - I mean there must be some players who would really jump at the chance to play with him. So what's going on?
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well that's just one style - there are a huge variety of Jazz soloists, with different styles. If you base your bass soloing on Parker then it will probably be a very "busy" style! ;)

    It's certainly an exercise worth doing though - although it's becoming a bit "hackneyed" for electric bass players to play Donna Lee - just because Jaco did! :rolleyes:

    I think I'd be more interested to hear a BG player who based their style on Monk for example! ;)
    But generally I would have thought the best idea is to take things that you like from as wide as possible a range of different soloists?
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well, it's probably a good starting point because of the Charlie Parker "Omnibook" which you can get in Bass Clef - which makes it a popular way into Jazz soloists for bass players.