Tag: Ornette Coleman

  • Kirk Knuffke’s Time: The Story of Some of the Year’s Best Jazz

    Jazz musicians still in their thirties and unbound by bebop ancestor worship, like the cornetist Kirk Knuffke and his loose circle of current and former Brooklynites (Mary Halvorson is the only one you’ve heard much about so far), don’t speak of playing standards anymore, even when that’s what they’re doing. They do “covers,” usually on […]

  • Ornette Coleman’s Crisis Music Returns

    In a scene from Ornette: Made in America, Shirley Clarke’s unconventional — and unforgettable — documentary portrait of Ornette Coleman, the musician and composer is on a New York City sidewalk in 1968. Deadly earnest, he asks his drummer the following: “What is it that you do that’s different from other drummers?… It’s obvious you […]


    It hasn’t been all Blondie, Sabbath and Nirvana. Because they dig sophisticated blends of eloquent jitter-swing and stormy rumination, The Bad Plus — the rogue piano/bass/drums outfit initially heralded for exploding pop and rock nuggets — has occasionally peppered its sets with Ornette Coleman tunes. “Song X” here, “Law Years” there — every time we’ve […]

  • Ten Free Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die

    Free jazz is challenging, violent, political, spiritual, joyous, peaceful, and a million other things. It’s about shattering forms in order to find a new world of sound somewhere further outside. And once this new world is found, it’s time to go looking for a newer one. When, as a college student, I first purchased Ornette […]

  • Ten Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die

    Because there are multiple decades of jazz, it’s almost impossible to pick the top ten albums of all time; the hip cats with their canes and cool shades will throw their used saxophone reeds in my direction and call me a young whippersnapper. But so many people out there, young or even a bit older, […]

  • The Shape of Docs to Come: Ornette: Made in America

    The invaluable—yet still insufficiently appreciated—American independent filmmaker Shirley Clarke (1919–97) once said: “There is no real difference between a traditional fiction film and a documentary. I’ve never made a documentary. There is no such trip.” Her genre-blurring claim applies equally to her first feature-length project, 1962’s The Connection—a film within a film about an uptight […]

  • ‘SF Jazz Collective Presents the Music of Stevie Wonder’

    Last fall at the Jazz Gallery, this West Coast octet fried several minds with original material and nods to deities from Ornette Coleman to Horace Silver. They’re great for both iconic repertory and pointed individualism. Now comes their first pop move, and early listens indicate that it’s loose-limbed and groove-friendly fare. You wouldn’t want “Superstition” […]

  • Mick Barr

    There is no sequence of notes too fast, rhythmically sporadic, or otherwise disjointed for guitar geek Mick Barr to play—again and again and again. In groups such as Orthrelm and Ocrilim, he plays these ostinatos ad infinitum, but in his blog-friendly black-metal group, he legitimately puts them to melodic use. Tonight, he plays solo at […]


    He’s pushing 80, but it’s a youthful lilt that leaps from Ornette Coleman‘s saxophone. Forget the egghead innovations of his harmolodic theory for a sec, and concentrate instead on the unfettered emotion his alto consistently channels. From shrieks to sobs, the beloved iconoclast boasts a sound that sends shivers through an audience. Just as much […]

  • Doc

    As exhaustively, rather sycophantically chronicled at the outset of Doc, Harold “Doc” Humes knew everyone (Baldwin, Duchamp, Dietrich, Ornette Coleman, Timothy Leary) and did everything. Remembered as a co-founder of the Paris Review, this tireless, half-mad polymath wrote novels, designed houses, dropped acid, reformed politics, made movies, hatched schemes, invented conspiracies, and sired multiple children […]