Ornette Coleman: Focus on Sanity
Focus on Sanity
Ornette Coleman (alto sax)
The Shape of Jazz to Come (Atlantic: 1317)
Composed by Ornette Coleman.
Recorded: Radio Recorders, Los Angeles, Ca. May 22, 1959
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Sanity might have seemed the issue for some when this was first unleashed to the world in 1959. Colemanís work was so groundbreaking and divisive that it seemed you had to pick sides, and consequently he was hailed as a genius or condemned as a charlatan. This performance has all the elements of his early work that I love. The alto and cornet state the jagged, short opening theme followed by Haden and Higgins in duet for two minutes. The theme is restated to demarcate the start of Colemanís solo and then again for Cherry and Higgins. None of these themes is quite the same, and yet they surely exhibit a continuity that is a signature of this great artistís canon.
Reviewer: Frank Murphy