Anyone seen the current touring lineup? Ornette Denardo Tony Falanga Charnett Moffett - on electric, with a big pedalboard, no less Al McDowell - piccolo bass They played Vancouver last night; my head is still melting. I've heard Sound Grammar, but having two electric players makes it pretty different - especially with Charnett playing wahwah and slapping and shredding like a mofo. Really busy in places, and in the sonic space of Ornette's electric bands but looser. Some notes: a) It's very cool to see an elder statesman still doing something that's challenging and unexpected. b) Two of the three bass players are sort of bass players in name only - Tony Falanga's way up in the cello register for almost the whole show (his stamina must be amazing), and Al McDowell's playing was more like a rhythm guitar part. A friend asked me - why didn't he just play guitar? I say - if he played guitar, it wouldn't be a bass. So the question is - why is it conceptually important that they're playing bass instruments? c) My theory - seems like this band plays to a kind of model of universality and simultaneity: here's a classical guy, a blues guy, and a rock and roll / r & b guy playing the same music - and the Sound Grammar stuff is really allusive: big chunks of Stravinsky, the Star Spangled Banner (uh ... is that the right title for your guyses song? that Hendrix thing?) and especially Tony Falanga playing the whole Bach G major prelude with the band improvising. Another version of what the Art Ensemble call 'ancient to the future?' d) Hearing the man's alto sound, live, is utterly amazing. For some reason people kept saying to me after the show: was that enough bass for you? I'm like - why me? I should be asking you ... Discuss.