We havent had a post for the Free tendency for a while, so Ornette can point the way. Get one Free, get another one, also Free. Free for the price of none, which is free anyway.
Track Selection 2: Embraceable you
Don Cherry (cor) Ornette Coleman (as) Charlie Haden (b) Ed Blackwell (d) recorded NYC, July 19, 26 & August 2, 1960
Adventurous stuff as you expect from Ornette. My vocabulary doesn’t do Free justice so I will borrow from all-knowing AllMusic:
“The session is also notable for containing the only standard (or, for that matter, the only non-original) Coleman recorded during his tenure with Atlantic — Gershwin’s “Embraceable You,” which is given a lyrical interpretation and even a rather old-time, sentimental intro (which may or may not be sarcastic, but really is pretty).
The unapologetic title of the album makes clear, he wanted to be taken (or left) on his own terms. And that word “our” also makes clear just how important the concept of group improvisation was to Coleman’s goals. Anyone can improvise whenever he feels like it, and the players share such empathy that each knows how to add to the feeling of the ensemble without undermining its egalitarian sense of give and take. Their stark, thin textures were highly distinctive, and both Coleman and Cherry chose instruments (respectively, an alto made of plastic rather than brass and a pocket trumpet or cornet instead of a standard trumpet) to accentuate that quality.
All in all, This Is Our Music keeps one of the hottest creative streaks in jazz history going strong.”
“In 1960, people literally wanted to beat the crap out of Ornette Coleman because of what he was doing to jazz. But now, his work just sounds exceptionally fresh and timeless”
I used to have a kaleidoscope when I was a kid, and took great delight in looking at the changing patterns. Not a lot changes I guess.
Vinyl: LTZ-K 15228 mono / SAH-K 6181 stereo
The old mono stereo dilema, again, because it wont go away. However I decided to select from the mono only this time around, as I think it suits the quartet more when the sound origin is unidirectional.
Great cover, the best of Ornette’s, as it shows the quartet, not just Ornette. That seems right for a work of simultaneous improvisation. The formal suits and white shirts say “we are serious”. So different form the self-indulgent fashion of the following decades: bell-bottoms, free-love, Generation X, Anarchy in the USA, campus teen protest. These guys probably had more to protest about than the rest put together, but they have a quiet dignity.
2. London Atlantic Stereo
One record missing from my Ornette collection for some years. You wait ages for a copy, no one seems to be selling it, then two turn up at once – on the same day. Stereo in the morning in north London, mono in the afternoon in central London. Couldn’t resist buying them both, as one will be better than the other, but who knows which? If you have both, you must have the better one. Stands to reason.
The sort of reasoning which reminded me of watching a guy in a Casino a few years back making a big win. After watching him play roulette for a few spins of the wheel, I could see why he kept winning. He put money on odd and even, black and red, and line splits for every number combination, he couldn’t fail to win something every time, except the infrequent occasion when the House won. Sort of a pointless exercise really, costing him a fortune, but he seemed to be enjoying it.
So, I got two copies. Being Decca pressings they both sound great, so both are a winner really.