Land of the Free Jazz

Marty McFly: We need a piano player, Doc.  Without 88 keys we won’t be able to sound any chords.

Dr. Ornette Coleman: Chords?  Where we’re going we don’t need chords.

I’m not sure how I missed this, but a month ago when Barack Obama was giving a commencement speech at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and receiving an honorary doctorate in law, Ornette Coleman was at the same commencement receiving his own honorary doctorate in music. Another example of the lamestream media only reporting their side of the story.

Congratulations, Dr. Coleman.

The first track below is “Lonely Woman” from Coleman’s groundbreaking The Shape of Things to Come (1959).  He was 29 years old when he recorded this and, if I’m not mistaken, playing on a plastic saxophone because he couldn’t afford a metal one.  The second track is “Sleep Talking,” my favorite song from his most recent album, Sound Grammar (2006), for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in Music, which is apparently a thing that exists.

They are the cure for what ails you.  Trust me; he’s a doctor.

Ornette Coleman, “Lonely Woman”

Ornette Coleman, “Sleep Talking”

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3 Responses to Land of the Free Jazz

  1. David G says:

    Man, I had no idea there was a Pulitzer for music, either: but if there weren’t, they’d have to invent it: “Sleep Talking” is awesome.

  2. Thanks. I like how it kind of shuffles and snores along, and then out of nowhere something clicks and they have those brief moments of lucidity, like at 6:20, before dissolving back into gibberish. It’s kind of frustrating in a way because it feels so incomplete, but it captures that feeling pretty well. I think I might have also posted it on Sunbury Music back when it first came out.

  3. David G says:

    Hmm. You might have. I know you posted Coleman. Agreed about the frustrating snapping in/out of focus. I can’t say I might not just prefer a more straight treatment with that amazing melodic line, but the frustration’s interesting too.

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