Ornette Coleman turned to me and said, “You know, you can never really be out of tune. You are always in tune with something.”
Two pianoless quartets + two restless leaders = some of the best music of the last few years.
Here is a personal selection of recordings in the saxophone trio format. These linear collaborations have been part of the jazz scene for at least seventy years now. The results are almost always illuminating and exhilarating, and a review of them offers a miniature history of saxophone styles.
The final, ineluctable quality that Ornette Coleman brought to the table was that he had an individual “voice,” which is the sine qua non and preeminent ethos in jazz.
“Ornette was looking for those notes, the ones that feel no pain.”
This collection demonstrates that the music of Ornette Coleman is in tune with something elemental and essential in the human spirit.
So there was the Ornette Coleman Quartet, leading off the final side of vinyl with a cut that changed my life, “Lonely Woman.”
The profound impact of Ornette Coleman can be seen in the reactions of the music world to his passing.
Ornette Coleman’s music was avant-garde but, perhaps unconsciously, his notion of art as free lyrical adventure was deeply American.
Of course this Social Security Six is a fluke, not a trend. And at first, the albums seem to have nothing in common beyond persistence and determination by the leaders. And not even that.