June 14, 2015

Playlist Week of 2015-06-13

* Le Sieur de Machy: Pieces de Viole 1685 (Savall) (Archiv LP)
* J.S. Bach: Musikalisches Opfer, BWV 1079 (Concentus musicus Wien) (Archiv LP)
* Vivaldi/Richter: The Four Seasons Recomposed (DG 2LP)
* Miles Davis: Seven Steps: The Complete Recordings 1963-1964 (d.1-2) (Columbia 7CD)
* Ornette Coleman: The Empty Foxhole (Blue Note LP)
* Donald Byrd: Black Byrd (Blue Note LP)
* Jack DeJohnette: Sorcery (Prestige LP)
* Jack DeJohnette New Directions: In Europe (ECM LP)
* Alphonse Mouzon: Mind Transplant (Blue Note LP)
* John McLaughlin: Electric Guitarist (Columbia LP)
* Bobbi Humphrey: Blacks & Blues (Blue Note LP)
* Bobbi Humphrey: Satin Doll (Blue Note LP)
* Simon & Bard Group with Ralph Towner: Tear It Up (Flying Fish LP)
* Simon & Bard Group: The Enormous Radio (Flying Fish LP)
* Marc Johnson & Eliane Elias: Swept Away (ECM CD)
* Emerald Web: Lights of the Ivory Plain (Fortuna LP)
* Emerald Web: Catspaw (Audion LP)
* John Serrie: And The Stars Go With You (Miramar CD)
* John Serrie: Ixlandia (Miramar CD)
* David Lanz & Paul Speer: Desert Vision (Narada LP)
* Serge Gainsbourg: Histoire de Melody Nelson (Philips/Light in the Attic LP)
* Alain Goraguer: La Planéte Sauvage OST (Pathé/Superior Viaduct LP)
* Love’s A Real Thing: The Funky Fuzzy Sounds of West Africa (Luaka Bop 2LP)
* Gram Parsons: GP (Warner Bros./Mobile Fidelity SACD)
* Grateful Dead: Civic Center, Hartford, CT 1981-05-10 (set 2) (selections) (SBD 2CDR)
* Grateful Dead: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL 1991-06-22 (selections) (SBD 3CDR)
* Grateful Dead: Coliseum, Oakland, CA 1993-02-23 (selections) (SBD FLAC)
* Santana: Caravanserai (Columbia LP)
* Linda Perhacs: Parallelograms (Kapp/Sundazed LP)
* Tom Waits: Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards (d.2) (Anti- 3CD)
* Merzbow/B. Pandi /M. Gustafsson/T. Moore: Cuts of Guilt Cut Deeper (Rare Noise 2LP)
* Jim O’Rourke: Simple Songs (Drag City LP)
* Anathema: Judgement (Music For Nations/Sony CD)
* Sunn O))): Black One (Southern Lord 2LP)           
* Pelican: The Cliff (Southern Lord EP)
* Minsk: The Crash And The Draw (Relapse 2LP)
* Pallbearer: Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore CD)
* Lord Dying: Poisoned Altars (Relapse LP)
* Myrkur: Myrkur (Relapse EP)
* Alabama Shakes: Sound And Color (ATO 2LP)



Although I knew Ornette Coleman was not in good health (and 85 years is a plenty long run), it still came as a shock to hear that he passed away on Thursday.

Like many innovators, he was vilified by establishment critics for much of his early career but managed to persevere and survive long enough to become a respected elder statesman, receiving a Pulitzer Prize for his 2007 album, Sound Grammar.  Respectful obituaries appeared in not only The New York Times, but also Rolling Stone and Taylor Ho Bynum's musicianly take on Ornette is a must-read over at The New Yorker.

I myself found Ornette's music difficult to get into when I first heard it back in high school. His acerbic tone and unorthodox intonation put me off and the landmark Free Jazz LP just sounded like a bunch of noise. But my ears gradually acclimated to his approach and, being a rocker at heart, his electrified Prime Time band truly knocked me out. I was fortunate enough to see him live twice when I lived in Boston: once with Pat Metheny and the Song X band and one marathon concert at The Channel (of all places), featuring Prime Time and his original quartet with Don Cherry, Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins, separately and altogether. Now that was amazing.

But it was by trying to play his music in UYA that I came to really appreciate what is really going on with it. His "Harmolodic" theory is something that is perhaps more effectively intuited than easily explained or understood, something that helps focus the improviser on what is happening in its totality while in the moment of its creation. In any event, Free Jazz sounds fairly tame and orderly to me now -- and not all that free, after all.

Thanks, Ornette, for opening my ears and changing my life.

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