Ornette Coleman & Joachim Kuhn: House of Stained Glass

This live performance offers further evidence of Coleman’s unique melodic vision. The piano intro sets us up for the reading of the head, which displays the usual somewhat abstruse logic of this visionary’s compositional gifts. The interaction between the two would be awe-inspiring if one hadn’t come to expect this level of virtuosity from Coleman’s projects. That being said Kuhn sounds wonderful here, soloing and throughout. I am always thrilled to hear Ornette’s alto in less than familiar surroundings – especially a spare setting such as this. It reminds me what all the fuss was about, so long ago.

December 08, 2007 · 0 comments

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James Blood Ulmer: Lonely Woman

Before James Blood Ulmer turned himself over to the blues (which admittedly was a strong part of his playing all along), he was the man of guitar harmolodics. On this track from Ulmer's Ornette tribute album, Ulmer takes that winding Coleman melody and discovers all manner of unexpected side turns. This is especially true toward the end of the piece when Ulmer's increasingly frenetic guitar excursions become commingled with Jones' basslines. Surely not surprising for a tune driven by harmolodic theory, but still a fine example of what this unconventional approach has to offer.

November 01, 2007 · 0 comments

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James Blood Ulmer: Revelation March

It's difficult to find a good textual definition of harmolodics. Maybe that's because it's best described without words. On “Revelation March” the collective improvisation takes several forms. Tacuma and Denardo Coleman's rhythm section launches into a double-time sprint while Ornette is content with a more solemn pace (though not without the occasional burst). Ulmer's guitar, with both knotty chords and twisty solo passages, provides a bridge between the two. When all three quartet components suddenly veer off in the same direction, it becomes apparent that there are some like minds camouflaged beneath the chaos.

November 01, 2007 · 0 comments

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