Monday, September 6, 2010

Free Jazz!

Ornette Coleman
14.25" x 8"
oil on wood, 2010

I don't really consider Nina Simone a Jazz musician. It's the style she's most associated with but I file her under Popular, the broadest category in my wall of vinyl. No, Ornette Coleman is the first Jazz musician in the Top 100 2010. Coleman was the featured artist in residence at this year's North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands. I didn't go to it, but my best friend did, he goes every year, he's the one that turned me on to John Zorn last year, he's Wim. John Zorn was artist in residence at North Sea Jazz last year, three of his recordings were in the Top 100 2009, so how fitting is it to pay some extra attention to Ornette Coleman this year? I have six of his records/cds but not Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation. I really ought to get that some day. On vinyl with the original cover featuring a Jackson Pollock. The record gave a name to a whole new style of Jazz: Free Jazz. The record has only one track, it's called Free Jazz. I have Free Jazz–part 1, a quarter of the original LP, on a nice box set called Jazz: Opus Musicum, that contains many other Free Jazz greats, Anthony Braxton, Peter Brötzmann, Cecil Taylor, among others. So, with Jazz finally entering the list the question arises who will be the first Blues musician this year? More than half way into the year but not a sign of any Blues yet. What's going on? I don't consider Joseph Spence a Blues musician. I have him filed in yet another broad category that was given the nice acronym of ANABEL (Artists Not of American, British, or [Western] European Linage) by Ross Simonini of The Believer. Ornette Coleman was one of the first Western musicians to work together with ANABEL; he recorded with the Master Musicians of Jajouka. For one of Coleman's 2010 North Sea Jazz concerts he once again played with the Jajouka musicians, nearly forty years after the original collaboration in Morocco.

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