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2/25/12 12:07 AM
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Ali
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Edited: 02/26/12 2:28 PM
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This is starting late... but to get to the electric stuff:

In 1987 Ornette did this record "In All Languages". It was a double-vinyl affair; the first disc was a reunion of the original quartet; the second disc was his then-current, electric band, Prime Time, playing the same (mostly the same) tunes. Sounding 100% different.

Here's the Prime Time version of "Biosphere"






Here's a live clip I thought pretty intereting -- need to turn it up; l wish the mix were a little clearer, because there's a lot going on; but it's not too hard to hear if you give it a bit of volume.





In a quieter mood... edit -- this is clearly from the first lp of In All Languages, so a 1987 reunion of the original quartet (from "The Shape of Jazz To Come") -- Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, Billy Higgins. Sounding freaking ridiculously great. I haven't actually heard this record since something like 1990 -- never bought it on CD, just a vinyl copy back when. I need to remedy that!

2/25/12 12:23 AM
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Ali
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With Ronald Shannon Jackson on drums... this is from a Saturnday Night Live appearance:

2/25/12 12:26 AM
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Ali
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Edited: 02/25/12 12:26 AM
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and... from Body Meta, tune called "Macho Woman":

2/25/12 12:31 AM
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Ali
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... and earlier. Right after "The Shape of Jazz To Come" and "Change of the Century" he did this record... with Ed Blackwell on drums (Blackwell was the original drummer, though *before* the earlier records, which had the great Billy Higgins; here... He's back, and I think gives a clearer idea of where the later music was going to go -- and also the RSJ music posted):

This is called "Blues Connotation":



There's a great sextet cover of this tune on a Jerry Granelli record, with Bill Frisell and Robin Ford playing the melody parts on guitar. Sadly, not on youtube. But really this is just showing what grew into some of the later stuff.
2/26/12 1:50 PM
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hugomma
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Edited: 02/26/12 2:01 PM
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This is some wild shit. The drums & bass riff that start off "Biosphere" remind me of "Intro" on Bad Brains' "I Against I" album. The rhythm guitar underneath bizarre, yet fits perfectly. As crazy as it was, I found Ornette to be melodic in a strange, other world kind of way. He's great at developing strong, melodic motifs.

That life Prime Time clip had a weird, happy Calypso feel & reminded of what Frisell does with loops, but they did it with repetition. It's like the soundtrack to an acid trip on a Caribbean island.

Loved the bowed double bass underneath the melody on "In All Language". That triplet lick that starts around around :59 got my attention. Although the interplay is probably the most impressive thing about this (& Frisell/Motion's music), they constantly bust out licks that make go 'whoa'. Like, the Mongoloid bastard son of Keanu Reeves going "whooaa"...

BTW, I saw that the Jackson, Ulmer, Cline, & FretKillr threads were all bumped up, but I have to run with the Fam for now. Will get to those soon.  I also checked out the Marclay clip on the Cherry thread, & got a copy of "Complete Commuinon".  

Thanks again for delivering.  I've said it before, I'll say it again: you should consider at least a blog, & maybe even a Modern Music Appreciation class at a local college.  This is great, insightful, & mind-bending.  I appreciate it.
 
2/26/12 3:58 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 02/26/12 4:02 PM
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Jackson was bumped because I found a couple more things I didn't see while I was in a hurry the first time (posted before work during the week!). Some good stuff, but not a lot of the studio things I'd most want to share. Still, some good stuff. The Ulmer... there's a TON that wasn't there just a few days ago. I think one guy in particular is just putting up the records. I'm amazed at the change in just a few days or a week. (Or else I just *missed* it all before!) On the Fretkillr thread, DasBeaver was inquiring about Nels Cline (because of the Kevin Breit comparison); and so I bumped the Cline thread, even though it's only half-way a Cline thread.

Meanwhile, I'm glad you scored "Complete Communion". Yeah, that's just SO DAMN good. And that, along with the Ornette, I've revisited because of this forum. A lot of Ornette these past two days, too... and how much I love that music, and kind of forgot about some of it. Makes me ashamed of what I listen to normally to really listen to that again! I like what you said about Ornette's melodic playing. He and Cherry both are really all about that. And it's not the stereotypical image of "free jazz" among those who don't listen to it. Getting "free" from the harmonic structure of chord changes was done *because* they are such extremely melodic players, really. And this one way I think that Motian's later music grows out of the same beautiful soil, too. At the time it even was talked about what a HUGE deal it was not use a piano... that's another lecture. But it's the same. Idea being the piano was viewed primarily as a chordal instrument that set those harmonic boundaries the bop players had to negotiate. (OK, it's not much of a lecture. That's about all I have to say about it -- except that of course pianists played "free" shortly thereafter, too).
2/26/12 10:13 PM
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hugomma
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Edited: 02/26/12 10:20 PM
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Just listened to Prime Time on Saturday Night Live. That reminded of a free jazz Talking Heads, in a great way. Man, they beat that "ba-da-da-da-da" melody into your head. Love how the bass breaks away from the grove & doubles Ornette's melody at 1:00 & 1:37. That was some weird ass comping from both guitarists. Then things started getting REALLY weird sometime around 1:40, when it sounded like unison soloing from Ornette & the guitars.

Great stuff, back for more later. 
3/1/12 10:52 AM
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Ali
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The "weird happy Calypso" sounding tune is called Latin Genetics, btw. It's one of Ornette's more covered tunes. I just heard a solo piano version (by Paul Bley -- how good could he be? he's Canadian! ;-) -- that was pretty damn great. Ornette did it originally before Prime Time, so even his different versions are really cool to compare.
2/21/13 2:11 AM
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hugomma
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Thought I'd bump this thread up, & for good reason: a friend of mine just saw this Ornette doc at a film fest.  The band KILLS at 26 seconds in.  Damn I wanted more.

"...and there are as many unisons as there are stars in the sky."

- Ornette Coleman

2/21/13 2:14 AM
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hugomma
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Edited: 02/21/13 2:30 AM
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Here's the other reason I wanted to bump the thread.  Just watched the 1st couple of minutes.  This is a doc about a soundtrack Ornette did with David Izenzon on bass & Charles Moffett on drums for a Belgium film called "Who's Crazy?".

2/22/13 12:18 AM
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Majic Sam
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One great artist and one great thread.It is what it is...Ornette is very realistic,in that he knows his market and appeal.

He usually counted on selling 10k copies of a new recording(and this was) back in the late 90's,so,bases recording,touring ventures and costs off a fairly limited market.Punk/Jazz maestro to the max.
2/22/13 12:12 PM
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Ali
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That last video... "Who's Crazy?", is high-larious, with the Euro-Beatnick invasion as the band plays.

That trio was the "Live at the Golden Circle" band -- when Ornette was on Blue Note. Really great musicians. This is just very conventional opinion, but I am of two minds about Ornette's violin playing. And mostly when I see it coming I wish he wouldn't. But then, that and his reed-mouthpiece trumpet are just more colors, and I'm overall glad he used them some. In general. ;-)

That documentary looks like a treat. Except I'm thinking it's the one that Ornette's son, the drummer, cut out mention of some of the more important drummers in Prime Time? (Ronald Shannon Jackson for one....) Is it that documentary, do you know?

I'd love to see the whole thing, anyway, for whatever live footage and whatever Ornette had to say.

The reading by Burroughs at the beginning reminds me... Ornette did the soundtrack to David Cronenberg's "Naked Lunch". That's a very good record.
2/22/13 12:26 PM
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hugomma
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Ali - That last video... "Who's Crazy?", is high-larious, with the Euro-Beatnick invasion as the band plays.

That trio was the "Live at the Golden Circle" band -- when Ornette was on Blue Note. Really great musicians. This is just very conventional opinion, but I am of two minds about Ornette's violin playing. And mostly when I see it coming I wish he wouldn't. But then, that and his reed-mouthpiece trumpet are just more colors, and I'm overall glad he used them some. In general. ;-)

That documentary looks like a treat. Except I'm thinking it's the one that Ornette's son, the drummer, cut out mention of some of the more important drummers in Prime Time? (Ronald Shannon Jackson for one....) Is it that documentary, do you know?

I'd love to see the whole thing, anyway, for whatever live footage and whatever Ornette had to say.

The reading by Burroughs at the beginning reminds me... Ornette did the soundtrack to David Cronenberg's "Naked Lunch". That's a very good record.

I need to see the rest of the "Who's Crazy" video.  Curious to hear his violin & trumpet playing.  Miles HATED Ornette playing the trumpet & thought it was disrespectful.  Then again, Miles was a world-class hater.

Yep,  you nailed it: that's the doc where Denardo (Ornette's son) cut Ronald Shannon Jackson (& probably others) out of the film.  There's a doc on Albert Ayler that was either recently made or is in production that excludes Shannon as well.   Aggavating, & unbelieveable.  

I heard the "Naked Lunch" soundtrack is one of Ornette's better records.  I saw the film 20 years ago & remember thinking the music was weird but interesting.  This was obviously before I drown in the Kool Aid that is avant garde jazz.  I need to check it out with my new set of ears.

2/22/13 12:38 PM
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Ali
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I don't think there's trumpet in the clip... I was just grouping it in with Ornette's "off" instruments. Violin is very prominent indeed, however.

I wish documentaries would document a bit more accurately. That's about all I have to say about cutting out Prime Time's first drummer....

And, always, the history of recorded jazz is not the same as the history of jazz. In the early days that was because things were made for 78rpm records, and so all that early Armstrong and Basie and Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton etc etc. was three minutes long. In performance it wasn't that way.

I think it's a bit different for Ayler, but similar in that people don't really recognize Ronald Shannon Jackson as the drummer on that stuff, because he was really only on the Live at Slug's, which was recorded horrifically badly. Later releases sound better, and the box set that was released in the 90s sounds better.

A documentary film ought to "fix" that, I think, if it were conscientious. But most people think of recordings, first. Anyway, I don't want to make excuses. But I think it's more understandable, even if it sucks, in the case of the Ayler movie. For the Ornette? No excuse.
2/22/13 2:15 PM
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hugomma
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Ali - I don't think there's trumpet in the clip... I was just grouping it in with Ornette's "off" instruments. Violin is very prominent indeed, however.

I wish documentaries would document a bit more accurately. That's about all I have to say about cutting out Prime Time's first drummer....

And, always, the history of recorded jazz is not the same as the history of jazz. In the early days that was because things were made for 78rpm records, and so all that early Armstrong and Basie and Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton etc etc. was three minutes long. In performance it wasn't that way.

I think it's a bit different for Ayler, but similar in that people don't really recognize Ronald Shannon Jackson as the drummer on that stuff, because he was really only on the Live at Slug's, which was recorded horrifically badly. Later releases sound better, and the box set that was released in the 90s sounds better.

A documentary film ought to "fix" that, I think, if it were conscientious. But most people think of recordings, first. Anyway, I don't want to make excuses. But I think it's more understandable, even if it sucks, in the case of the Ayler movie. For the Ornette? No excuse.

 

Great point, & I agree 100%.  Put in perspective, the Ayler exclusion makes sense.  But no mention of RSJ in an Ornette film?!?

I can't imagine having a trail blazing genious for a father like Ornette Coleman, or what that could to a developing self esteem.  Either way, it does not excuse leaving Prime Time's first drummer out of a documentary.  And yes, Ronald Shannon Jackson deserves his own film.  And what a film it would be...

 

3/12/13 5:44 PM
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hugomma
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We talked a bit about Ornette's trumpet & violin playing a few posts up. I found this last night & though it was worth sharing. Here it is in one tune. The YouTube comments say it's "Theme From a Symphony," from the "Dancing in Your Head" album. Pretty noisy stuff, but gripping. Then again, you could say that about a lot of Ornette's music. Personally, I enjoyed the trumpet playing a little more than the violin.

And a reminder to myself to watch the last 15 mins of that "Who's Crazy?" doc.

3/12/13 5:52 PM
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hugomma
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More live Prime Time, from 1978, with James Blood Ulmer & Ronald Shannon Jackson.

3/12/13 5:54 PM
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Ali
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"Theme from a Symphony" - One of those strangely nagging melodies on the head, with all this super dense polyrhthmic groove underneath. I love what Tacuma (I think) is doing n bass during that. But then Tacuma (I think) plays that nagging melody underneath Ornette's improv on the bass.... these players are really sensitive listeners, the way that gets shuttled around and modulated to different keys as comping. "Everybody soloing at once" requires huge ears. This band had it.

I'm not sure who the main drummer is -- might be a young Grant Calvin Weston. It was RSJ on the original recording.

Music is weird as hell, I guess. I don't even bother trying to get other people to listen to this stuff, usually. I love it.


That 1978 clip -- I'm not sure what to think, yet. The sound quality makes all the density sound a bit like mud... but they're playing pretty sludgy stuff for long sections of it, too. The "drum duel" is not something I've heard done with this band before, and just when I'm deciding I think it's gone on long enough, evidently Ornette agreed. But his manner of agreeing is interrupt with that "beginner's trumpet" at 5:34.... I guess you just have to laugh.

Some of it is very groovy, and it's cool to see those guys at that stage. Ulmer looks like a king, just being that big a guy and the way he's dressed. I have to listen to the whole thing, still.
3/12/13 6:10 PM
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hugomma
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Ali - "Theme from a Symphony" - One of those strangely nagging melodies on the head, with all this super dense polyrhthmic groove underneath. I love what Tacuma (I think) is doing n bass during that. But then Tacuma (I think) plays that nagging melody underneath Ornette's improv on the bass.... these players are really sensitive listeners, the way that gets shuttled around and modulated to different keys as comping. "Everybody soloing at once" requires huge ears. This band had it.

I'm not sure who the main drummer is -- might be a young Grant Calvin Weston. It was RSJ on the original recording.

Music is weird as hell, I guess. I don't even bother trying to get other people to listen to this stuff, usually. I love it.


That 1978 clip -- I'm not sure what to think, yet. The sound quality makes all the density sound a bit like mud... but they're playing pretty sludgy stuff for long sections of it, too. The "drum duel" is not something I've heard done with this band before, and just when I'm deciding I think it's gone on long enough, evidently Ornette agreed. But his manner of agreeing is interrupt with that "beginner's trumpet" at 5:34.... I guess you just have to laugh.

Some of it is very groovy, and it's cool to see those guys at that stage. Ulmer looks like a king, just being that big a guy and the way he's dressed. I have to listen to the whole thing, still.

I feel like you have to grow into it. For me, it started with hardcore, which led to Hendrix, which brought me to Trane, then Miles, then early non-electric Ornette free jazz (which I thought was cool but didn't listen to as much) Then Mahavishnu & electric Miles. At that point (my early 20's) Frisell, Ronald Shannon Jackson, & Prime Time would've been a bit much. I wouldn't have liked it cause it didn't sound like electric Miles or Mahavishnu.

But after years of "A Love Supreme" era Trane (particularly the live version from France, which I had on a cassette), electric Miles, & live Jimi, I found Nels Cline. By then, I was ready. The rest is documented here on the "Guitar god Nels Cline" thread.

People though Beeethoven was too much at the time. It may take a while, but someday, the masses may realize what's really going on with this music.
3/12/13 7:34 PM
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Ali
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But even as just groovy music..... I play Decoding Society or Blood for people. It gets across most of the time. Prime Time.... notsomuch. Acoustic Ornette is easier, at least the really pretty stuff, or the Haden groove stuff.
3/12/13 11:16 PM
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Majic Sam
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The Prime Time '78 clip has a loose,Moroccan Joujouka vibe,for lack of a better description.I don't care if the sound is a bit dirty.It just makes me listen a bit more than usual to make things out clearly.A hardcore bootleg by a good band can be a challenge,but worth the listen.No ninny.
3/12/13 11:22 PM
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Majic Sam
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Denardo's pads...Mid-80's tech abuse to the max!
3/13/13 12:17 AM
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Ali
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Ornette did go to Morocco and work with the Master Musicians of Jajouka around that time.... the one recording that's available is a tune on the first of the Prime Time record (Dancing in Your Head). So you're hearing a "loose Moroccan Joujouka vibe" for a good reason! What he actually DID with those guys is a different kind of weird... I'll check youtube to see if it's there.

EDIT -- yup, here it is. Of course those guys aren't half as out as Ornette. Now I remember ;-)

3/13/13 10:43 AM
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hugomma
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Majic Sam - Denardo's pads...Mid-80's tech abuse to the max!

Excuse my ignorance Sam, but I'm a dumb guitar player. Could you please explain?
3/14/13 4:38 PM
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Ali
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I think he's talking about the midi pads in Denardo's kit in the live "Theme from a Symphony" clip... (Actually I'm sure). You get a clear view of them at 4:11, even though Denardo's not beating on them at that point.

I decided, however, that I really like what Ornette does on violin in that clip a whole lot. It's like throwing in Adrian Belew or something... nice little freak out "sound effects" thing, only it's just a straight violin he needs to do it.

Don't get me wrong -- I understand there might be a theoretical discussion of what's "music" and what's "noise" buried in that opinion! I just like it.

For more conventionally pretty... here's a bit from the soundtrack to the movie, Naked Lunch. Ornette's long quote of "My One and Only Love" makes me want to hear him just do a whole record of standards. They turn into something else in his hands, and I can't believe he hasn't done it. I can't think of anyone I'd rather hear do it, based on this.


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