Ornette Coleman’s 10 Greatest Songs and Greatest Discs (Representative Songs and Hidden Masterpieces)

This time I created a ranking of Ornette Coleman.

The ranking is a mixture of both extremes of music.

It is a mixture of serious acoustic jazz and electric funk.

However, I can recommend both types of music with confidence.

I can’t die without listening to them, especially the last song.

This blog is an automatic translation of a Japanese blog into English.

Please understand that it may be difficult to read.

No.1「Sleep Talk」(Album:Of Human Feelings)


■Song Title:Sleep Talk
■Album Name:Of Human Feelings
■Video link:「Sleep Talk」

This is a song I performed with Prime Time.

Prime Time is unique in its composition.

There are two guitarists and two drummers, and the two groups play in parallel at the same time.

At first, you might be a bit confused.

If you are one of those people, you might want to pay attention to the gaps in the performance.

Of course, this is not a normal way to enjoy music.

Ornette Coleman’s music is a little different.

It’s a strange funk that seems to be out of joint.

Now, in this song, two sets of guitars and drums are awkwardly intertwined.

The bass player, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, is the one who connects the two groups.

His bass holds each player together so that they don’t fall apart.


No.2「Bourgeois Boogie」(Album:Virgin Beauty)


■Song Title:Bourgeois Boogie
■Album Name:Virgin Beauty
■Video link:「Bourgeois Boogie」

At the time of its release, this album was attracting attention not from jazz listeners, but from rock listeners.

This may have been because Jerry Garci of the Grateful Dead was on it.

Peter Barakan, in particular, strongly recommended this album.

I bought it because of that.

He even said, “If you don’t like this album, you don’t have to believe me anymore.

I believed his words and decided to buy it.

I remember that I also bought “In A Silent Way” by Miles Davis, which Peter Barakan had recommended at the same time.

In fact, I was right to buy both of them.


No.3「Dee Dee」(Album:At the Golden Circle Stockholm Volume 1)


■Song Title:Dee Dee
■Album Name:At the Golden Circle Stockholm Volume 1
■Video link:「Dee Dee」

This song is from a live performance at a jazz club in Stockholm.

There are quite two extremes to this guy’s music.

First, it is divided into serious acoustic jazz and bright funk/fusion.

There are also other albums with orchestras, like “Skies of America”, and sometimes he plays violin as well.

Among them, this album seems to be relatively close to normal jazz.

The members other than Ornette are as follows.

David Izenzon: bass
Charles Moffett: drums

This is a piano-less trio composition.

Please pay attention to Charles Moffett’s drums in this song.

This is a great performance that teaches us that swinging is not the only way to play jazz drums.


No.4「Love Words」(Album:Of Human Feelings)


■Song Title:Love Words
■Album Name:Of Human Feelings
■Video link:「Love Words」

There is a term for Primetime’s musicality called “Harmolodics Theory”.

I knew the term, but I didn’t know what kind of theory it was.

So I looked it up.

The following is the explanation that I found easiest to understand.

Harmolodics is a musical theory that positions the three elements of music – melody, harmony, and rhythm – as equal and independent of each other.

To put it bluntly, music is possible even if the melody player, the harmony player, and the rhythm player are all playing independently.

Tone Dialing / Ornette Coleman | Kabu + Plus – 楽天ブログ

Even if the players don’t fix their roles and play as they please, the music as a whole seems to work surprisingly well.

Listen to this song for an example.

It sounds like a jam session with a bunch of uncoordinated players.

The fact that they don’t mesh well with each other makes me feel creative.


No.5「European Echoes」(Album:At the Golden Circle Stockholm Volume 1)


■Song Title:European Echoes
■Album Name:At the Golden Circle Stockholm Volume 1
■Video link:「European Echoes」

Ornette is said to be the founder of free jazz.

He released an album called “Free Jazz” in 1961.

The music presented there was a collective improvisation.

In other words, his idea of free jazz does not seem to be an individual technique like a solo.

However, he is also an excellent improviser.

Especially in 1965, when this album was released, his improvisation was at its best.

Town Hall, 1962″, “Chappaqua Suite”, and “An Evening with Ornette Coleman”, also released in 1965, are all masterpieces.

Even in 1965, this album is highly acclaimed and is said to be her best work.

This is the album I listen to most often, and I never get tired of listening to it no matter how many times I hear it, probably because of its simplicity.


No.6「The Sphinx」(Album:Something Else!!!!: The Music of Ornette Coleman)


■Song Title:The Sphinx
■Album Name:Something Else!!!!: The Music of Ornette Coleman
■Video link:「The Sphinx」

This is a selection from the first album.

From the introduction, the performance is very hard bop.

He played normal jazz on his first two albums, this one and “Tomorrow Is the Question!

Don Cherry and Billy Higgins have already joined the band.

But even though the format is hard bop, the solo performances are starting to show their individuality.

I don’t think it’s been mentioned much, but Ornette has many albums without piano or keyboards!

Whether acoustic or electric.

But in this song, Walter Norris plays the piano.

I think it’s a good performance, but I think it’s a different direction from Ornette.


No.7「Search for Life」(Album:Tone Dialing)


■Song Title:Search for Life
■Album Name:Tone Dialing
■Video link:「Search for Life」

In this song, there is rapping.

Ornette is someone who is classified as a jazz musician, but he is not someone who can be appreciated only for jazz.

I have been told by my jazz friends that they don’t know how good Ornette is.

If you are one of those people, you might want to listen to it without thinking of it as jazz.

This song is not jazz, but it is very attractive.

He released some good works in his later years, such as “Naked Lunch” and this album released in 1995.

Then his activity started to decrease around 1997 and he died in 2015 at the age of 85.


No.8「Lonely Woman」(Album:The Shape Of Jazz To Come)


■Song Title:Lonely Woman
■Album Name:The Shape Of Jazz To Come
■Video link:「Lonely Woman」

This song had a great impact on the jazz scene of the time.

His music was enthusiastically endorsed by some, including John Lewis and Charles Mingus.

Classical masters such as Leonard Bernstei praised Ornette as a genius.

On the other hand, there were those who rejected him, such as Max Roach.

In fact, I couldn’t understand it at first either.

When I finally understood it after listening to it over and over again, I felt a sense of accomplishment.

The melodies that he creates depict certain moods and situations, which may be difficult to understand.

The rhythmic aspect of his music is also different from the typical swing music.

The difficulty in explaining his music is similar to the difficulty in explaining the taste of green pepper.


No.9「Latin Genetics」(Album:In All Languages)


■Song Title:Latin Genetics
■Album Name:In All Languages
■Video link:「Latin Genetics」

It is a song that represents his charming side.

It could be called a Latin jazz song.

On the other hand, his saxophone has a shadowy tone in serious jazz songs.

In “Lonely Woman,” which I mentioned earlier, he seems to have played on a cheap plastic saxophone, and the tone is dark.

In this song, the sound is brighter and more natural.

Since I am planning to introduce an overly stimulating song at the end of this article, I thought I would introduce a song that you can easily enjoy before that.


No.10「Theme from a Symphony (Variation One)」(Album:Dancing in Your Head)


■Song Title:Theme from a Symphony (Variation One)
■Album Name:Dancing in Your Head
■Video link:「Theme from a Symphony (Variation One)」

This song is very anarchic.

They are all weird, and they play savagely.

This song might be hard to know which instrument to listen to mainly.

If you follow the melody, you will end up with the rhythm, and if you follow the rhythm, you will end up with the melody.

Like a trompe l’oeil jacket, the listener is thrown into a space with no up, down, left or right coordinate axis.

When I first heard it, I had the following thoughts.

I have no idea what’s going on here.

I have no idea what it is, but I do know that it is interesting music.

What do you think about it?

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