Monday, November 13, 2006

Beauty is a Rare Thing

NPR did a piece on free jazz legend Ornette Coleman this morning. It's always nice to see someone in the free jazz community get some coverage in the mainstream media. I'm not a huge Ornette fan. In fact, I don't own a single Ornette Coleman recording. I guess that's somewhat shameful for someone who considers himself a free jazz afficianado, but my recording collection is very sparse by jazz collector standards anyway. I'm familliar with some of his work from the 1960s and I like almost all of it. I haven't been too impressed with any of his recent stuff, but I've only heard a small sample.

I've never seen Coleman play live, and I probably never will. From what I understand, he rarely plays live shows anymore. I heard that he played a free show on the Boston Common sometime back in the 1980s. Nowadays, you're probably lucky to hear him play a show in his hometown (New York?), let alone a free show in the middle of a city park. I'm not knocking Coleman by any means, his impact on the world of creative improvised music has been profound. I'm just saying that I can't really consider someone who is not out there making music on a regular basis part of the vanguard of the free jazz movement. Still, it was a nice piece and he is a much more deserving of an in-depth profile than most of the musicians that I hear about on NPR.

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