Track Selection: “Legend of Bop” >
Don Cherry (cor) Ornette Coleman (as) Charlie Haden (b) Billy Higgins (d) Los Angeles, CA, May 22, 1959
Culled from sessions in 1959-61 and released ten years later, “The Art of the Improvisers” sits neatly along side the Ornette Coleman albums released around 1960, all still acheiving cult status with modern jazz bohemians. More musical than you might at first think for “free jazz”, Coleman nevertheless sought comparison with “drip-school” artist Jackson Pollock and Abstract Expressionism. The abstract cover is his own painting, which gives some substance to his link between Art and Music. However it remains true that many people who “get” abstract art have difficulty with abstract music, which falls outside their comfort zone.
The record is the original Atlantic US Stereo pressing from 1971 Normally I prefer mono, but stereo works well when Ornette is squawking away in one speaker and Don Cherry in the other, with bass and drums between. The separation in space seems logical, as would a painting occupying space. How could an abstract painting appear in “mono” – all the paint daubs in the middle?
These labels should be Red & Green according to Goldmine, not Grey and Orange. It is still credited to 1971, the year of first release.