Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Ornette still original as ever

Saw Ornette Coleman last Friday night for the second time in my life. The first time was about ten years ago (I think) around the time of the Tone Dialing album, with a more electric group.

This time, with Denardo Coleman (as usual) and Tony Falanga and Greg Cohen on basses, it was pure unadulterated Ornette, as original as ever, his sound wailing just as fresh as it did 40 years ago on modern classics like The Shape of Jazz to Come.

It struck me this time around that Ornette is really an artist for the ages, as important to the "jazz canon" as any top artist in any medium throughout history. The most amazing aspect of Ornette is his unquestionable originality. If you've heard enough jazz after a while you can start to pick out predecessor influences in jazz instrumentalists; it's just part of the copy and imitate philosophy of jazz improvisation (and popular as well as internet culture btw, but that topic for another time). But with Ornette, there are none. You have to accept him for who he is.

Ornette's life and music really are a role model for all, demonstrating uncompromising ideals and how to stay true to yourself. If only we all had a little more Ornette in us.

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