FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS Ornette Live At Prince Street
Ornette Coleman - alto saxophone, trumpet, violin
Dewey Redman - tenor saxophone
Charlie Haden - bass
Ed Blackwell - drums
Recorded live on Prince Street, New York City, 1970
Gold Series 74321 851 592
1. Friends And Neighbours ( vocal )
2. Friends And Neighbours ( instrumental )
3. Long Time No See
4. Let's Play
5. Forgotten Songs
This session was recorded in 1970 - roughly ten years after Ornette Coleman
had burst onto the Jazz scene causing possibly the most controversy in
all of the history of this most challenging of music forms. This is a
live concert recorded in one of the famous New York "lofts".
In the 1960's and 1970's and indeed on occasion at later dates the lofts
in certain areas of New York and Chicago were very much the places to
find the newer styles of Jazz. The audience here is comprised of neighbours
and musician friends invited by Coleman and amongst those present are
Pharaoh Sanders, Gil Evans and Don Cherry.
Ornette's music is never going to fall into the "Easy Listening "
category - it makes strong demands on the listener as it does on the performers.
With the passing of time his music has gained wider recognition and has
influenced a myriad of other artists from Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane
and Gunther Schuller to the free-bop of such widely accepted musicians
as Joe Lovano and, more recently, Chris Potter.
Whilst alto saxophone is obviously Coleman's strongest instrument, his
trumpet playing ( although sparsely used ) is quite effective on this
recording. His violin playing is best approached as a texture or background
sound. Dewey Redman has always been a first-class tenor player and he
performs well on these selections. Charlie Haden is one of the most creative
musicians of any era and his bass playing is excellent here. Ed Blackwell
was one of those figures who became a legend in his own lifetime. He is
regarded by many as the father of "Free" drumming with roots
that go all the way back to Africa.
There are two versions of the title track - the main difference being
that the first one has a vocal chant for an intro.The tune itself could
best be described as " country-rock" and Redman is particularly
strong on both versions. " Long Time No See " has a Calypso-like
theme and Coleman is the major soloist on this with a very constructive
statement - Redman takes over for the last third of the track. "Let's
Play " features Coleman on trumpet and " Forgotten Songs "
has an amusing theme.
"Tomorrow " again features powerful soloing from Dewey Redman
complete with multi-phonics,shrieks and wails.Ornette, in contrast, plays
some lyrical and restrained alto here.
I enjoyed this record greatly and would heartily recommend it as an introduction
to the small group music of Ornette Coleman .
D.S. is a professional
reed player and teacher living in Coventry
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