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November 15, 2004

Oh, Ornette

In a porkpie hat and powder-blue suit, he shuffled gingerly onstage. At age 75, the lion of “free jazz” seemed frail, but when he put his lips to the saxophone …

Accompanied by bassists, Tony Falanga and Greg Cohen, and his son, drummer Denardo Coleman, he played, seemingly effortlessly. There were languid echoes of cool jazz, insistent hard bop and the occasional snippet of funk. Falanga mostly bowed his instrument, while Cohen plucked his. Denardo self-effacingly accompanied on drums.

I remember listening to Ornette Coleman, as a youth, on Radio Canada’s late-night jazz show. There, in my darkened bedroom, Coleman’s music seemed like a message in a bottle, unlike anything I’d ever heard before.

Tonight was the first time I had the opportunity to see him in concert. Sitting in the 4th row, I was spellbound, from the first notes, through the encore of Turnaround.

Posted by distler at November 15, 2004 1:20 AM

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Re: Oh, Ornette

I’m jealous. Ornette Coleman is a true master, and still going strong. Sounds like a great concert.

Posted by: Sean on November 15, 2004 10:54 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Oh, Ornette

Seeing a musical hero live at last is always a great experience. I remember years ago seeing one of the last perfomances of classical guitar master Segovia. Although he was old with a few memory lapses the magic was still there. There are some very rare and interesting old jazz records converted to streaming real audio on the Vinyl Preservation Project at
I was listening to a live record there recently of Duke Ellington and Django Rheindhart in concert in 1947. About 60 rare old lps in the jazz section.

Posted by: Steve M on November 15, 2004 2:21 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Oh, Ornette

Jacques, I was just a row in front of you somewhere that night, then. The show well near left me unable to speak.

Posted by: jacob on November 17, 2004 5:35 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

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