Gunther Schuller (featuring Ornette Coleman): Abstraction




Gunther Schuller (featuring Ornette Coleman)


John Lewis: Golden Striker / Jazz Abstractions (Collectables COL-CD-6252)

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Ornette Coleman (alto sax), Scott LaFaro (bass), Jim Hall (guitar),

Charles Libove, Roland Vamos (violins), Harry Zaratzian, Alfred Brown (violas), Joseph Tekula (cello), Alvin Brehm (bass), Sticks Evans (drums)


Composed and conducted by Gunther Schuller


Recorded: New York, December 19, 1960


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

"Abstraction," explained its composer, combines "the most advanced [circa 1960] stylistic manifestations of both jazz and classical music," particularly investigating the "many parallels between the playing of Ornette Coleman and serial music." The piece is structurally ingenious, employing an "ABA form, in which B is a solo cadenza by Ornette, and the second A is an exact retrograde of the first A" (in other words, a mirror image). "Abstraction" occasionally sounds like a radio picking up two stations simultaneously, one jazz and another 12-tone. But soon we realize that, amazed as Alice, we've slipped Through the Looking-Glass. Curiouser and curiouser!

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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