Monday, July 07, 2008
Love this record. I suppose it's a jumbled mess in some respects, a set of 20 some loosely related themes patched together but some of those themes, especially the slower sections, are some of the most beautiful melodic lines I know. Very romantic, very...aspirational in the sense of floating upward. Has this ever been staged live? Performed in recent years? Again, as with the Town Hall concert, in many respects the writing is obviously very conservative relative to things going on in the contemporary classical world in 1972. Curious if Ornette simply didn't care, if he dismissed those trends or if he was more or less oblivious to them. Aside: He was taken to see AMM in '66 while in London and, from reports, ignored them and talked with friends.
Lovely date, just Haden and Ornette, the latter on tenor throughout save for the final track where he switches to trumpet. Interesting that it's from '78 when Prime Time was running full steam; the music here has nothing to do with that. Don't know how many know "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman", the subversive TV show whose theme is played here. Both are in fine, relaxed form. I don't see this mentioned too often, but it's something of a gem, well worth checking out.
This may rank in my 10 Worst Album covers ever list. A 1979 Prime Time date released by Antilles in 1982, it's always struck me as lackluster. I wasn't a huge Prime Time fan. Saw them twice, once in 1977 at Avery Fisher Hall on a "double bill" with Ornette's acoustic quintet (Cherry, Redman, Haden, Blackwell) and then out in the park in Hartford Ct. for Ornette Coleman day around 1983. Might be Calvin Weston's and Denardo's drumming that I find too plodding; could use some Shannon Jackson here. But it's also the tunes he used with this line-up--few of them for me, have as much inherent beauty as his earlier compositions so whatever instrumental filigree they overlay, the structure, to my ears, is rickety.
Been quite a while since I listened to this. I recall cringing when I heard that Ornette was working with Metheny, a musician I've never been able to abide (absurd that he gets top billing on the record). He's OK here, though, kind of subsumed into the harmolodic concept. Good dual drum team of Denardo and DeJohnette. Happily, this holds up surprisingly well, some good intense playing, barely controlled free for alls. By the end of the record, it gets to be a bit much and you want some lemon sorbet to cleanse the palate, but overall, pretty decent.
The remainder of my Ornette on vinyl consists of three items I can't quite work up the interest to spin:
Opening the Caravan of Dreams (1985) more Prime Time that I recall finding pretty tiresome.
In All Languages (1987) Split 2LP with Cherry/Haden/Higgins on one disc Prime Time on the other. My memory of the acoustic set is that the pieces were way to short, almost treated like Prime Time pop songs. Hideous album design as well.
Virgin Beauty (1988) - The sole representation of Jerry Garcia in my collection (he guests on a couple of tracks), enough to keep it off the turntable.....
My only Steve Coleman album, 1998's "Sine Die" on the short-lived, Sting-financed Pangaea label. Boy I hope he's changed his wardrobe since then. I never understood the buzz around his work (though I think he was a fine component of some of Dave Holland's bands around the time). Stilted funk, dry, overcooked melodic lines, sappy lyrics ("Everybody's got to have a destination/Everybody needs somewhere to go")--I don't get it. I had fairly negative memories of this one but wanted to make sure. Now I'm sure.