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  #1  
Old 04-07-2012, 04:10 AM
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Default What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

I don't know how many guys on here have heard it, but I listened to it for the first time, and a professor of mine said it best, "The first time you listen to it, it'll sound like a middle school band class when the teacher leaves the room." But after listening a few more times, I'm finally getting some of the patterns and starting to understand what's going on, (in my limited understanding of music theory).

Anyway, was this album as shocking to you upon first hearing it?
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:08 PM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

First Ornette Coleman I ever heard was Song X, his effort with Pat Metheny. Basically lifted off the top of my skull and exposed my brain to the air for the first time. Music on the very edge of the definition of music, not safely inside the accepted notions of music. I was instantly in love. Then I went to the older stuff, like Circle With A Hole In The Middle, blew my mind even more than before. Billy Higgins is amazing on that album, which is underappreciated. Most people reference the album Free Jazz, but I think Coleman's best stuff came afterward. Live At Stockholm is also terrific. El Corazon with Don Cherry is also worth checking out.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:33 PM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

I was already well-acquainted with "free jazz" by the time I first heard it, so it wasn't shocking to me. I had already been exposed to Coltrane's Interstellar Space, Ayler's Spiritual Unity and Cecil Taylor. In a way, Free Jazz sounded a lot more "inside" coming from that perspective.

I do love it, though. Those early Coleman Atlantic recordings are excellent. Shape Of Jazz To Come and Change Of The Century are probably my favorites.
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:13 AM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

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Originally Posted by Deathmetalconga View Post
First Ornette Coleman I ever heard was Song X, his effort with Pat Metheny. Basically lifted off the top of my skull and exposed my brain to the air for the first time. Music on the very edge of the definition of music, not safely inside the accepted notions of music. I was instantly in love. Then I went to the older stuff, like Circle With A Hole In The Middle, blew my mind even more than before. Billy Higgins is amazing on that album, which is underappreciated. Most people reference the album Free Jazz, but I think Coleman's best stuff came afterward. Live At Stockholm is also terrific. El Corazon with Don Cherry is also worth checking out.
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I was already well-acquainted with "free jazz" by the time I first heard it, so it wasn't shocking to me. I had already been exposed to Coltrane's Interstellar Space, Ayler's Spiritual Unity and Cecil Taylor. In a way, Free Jazz sounded a lot more "inside" coming from that perspective.

I do love it, though. Those early Coleman Atlantic recordings are excellent. Shape Of Jazz To Come and Change Of The Century are probably my favorites.
Not the news I had hoped for. But it's cool that you guys were already familiar with something similar. I heard it in my jazz class at school and this is immediately following a four week section on Modal Jazz, so it definitely took my head off as well. My teacher put it on, and people start laughing and making fart noises, (this is an upper level college lecture, mind you) and there's one jazz guitarist I see in the class paying attention and smiling when something happens. And I start really listening. It didn't take long, and despite my not really understanding the music, it was so cool.

All the albums you guys mentioned are next on my list.
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

My mother was a music professor, so I grew up not only with Western classics, but with "20 Century" and Avant-Garde music. The latter blew my mind while I was in high school, just like free jazz apparently blew yours recently. So when I finally heard Coleman, Braxton, and others in college, I was immediately comfortable with them. This is why I was a member of both the university Jazz band and the "New Music" ensemble.

I don't always enjoy playing or listening to this stuff though. Like in other types of music, I find there are more poseurs than masters. But it has helped me as a musician and producer because it allows me deal with whatever way out things musicians want to do.

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Old 04-09-2012, 12:30 AM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

Merzbow blew my mind, Coleman just filled in some of the figurative gaps.
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:26 AM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

After you've listened to Coleman for a while, venture to Sun Ra. Free jazz with a big band is the only way I can describe it.
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:41 PM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

As a sax player as well, inspiring, frustrating and awe inspiring.

Orentology I think is the cd I have.

Ornette is GREAT!

TRy Wayne Shorter, the album "the soothsayer," or even "schizophrenia," for something compeltely NOT like Ornette!
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:41 AM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

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Merzbow blew my mind, Coleman just filled in some of the figurative gaps.
Like Merzbow the noise "band?" THe one man tape loop obsession noise artist?

I just don't get it. Never did.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:46 AM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

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Like Merzbow the noise "band?" THe one man tape loop obsession noise artist?

I just don't get it. Never did.
Much more to it than that but it's definitely not for everyone. I love Merzbow, have done for years but it's partially an extramusical obsession. I will never lambast anybody that doesn't like Merzbow because it is definitely not mainstream and is very difficult.
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:36 AM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

Well I like noise/ambience. The only things I heard from him were more power noise driven.
I like jesu for example but that is definately different than merzbow.

If ALL it is is power noise, well that would be different. Where would you recommend you start?
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:50 AM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

With Merzbow it's just a case of dipping toes until you find something you can stand. He tends to just make music and then release it, there's no 'quality-control' button with his mindset, so to recommend anything specific is difficult. I've listened to a lot of Merzbow but I've barely scratched the surface. Probably the most famous record is '1930' and that's probably as good a place to start as anywhere.

Broadly speaking, the big shift in his style occurred around the early 90s when he shifted from analogue to digital. Anything before then tends to be a little less aggressive and anything after can be very, very harsh. 'Rising Sun' is a particularly aggressive piece that I used to listen to regularly but is hard to get hold of because it was only ever released as a limited edition - I just used to have access to a fantastic library at my old University that was full of odd records and CDs.

'Sphere' is a record that has some actual, repeating patterns. 'Yaho-Niwa' varies a few things and has some softer tracks and some really harsh ones.

My obsession started during my Undergraduate Degree when a lecturer I conversed with regularly suggested that I might quite like the aesthetics behind what he was doing. I think I was the only person on the degree that wrote noise and I ended up composing computer-controlled Onkyokei. My favourite Onkyo record is 'Foldings' by a group of guys led by Tetuzi Akiyama but that's a different story.
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:54 AM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

Never liked Ornette. I've tried a number of times but can't get past the relentless in-your-face angularity. I need respite! Same with Merzbow for me, Mr Bacterium.

I loved Art Ensemble of Chicago when I saw them - their edginess, sound smorgasbord, humour and theatricality - but, even then, their free passages were less interesting for me than their more accessible styles. Damn, I'm so instinctively unhip I might as well register with the Tories lol

Love this one by Cecil Taylor and AROC - totally goofy but far less abrasive than Ornette ... it's like an amazing Bugs Bunny sountrack :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah5OVkgUtF8
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Old 04-18-2012, 02:33 AM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

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Never liked Ornette. I've tried a number of times but can't get past the relentless in-your-face angularity. I need respite! Same with Merzbow for me, Mr Bacterium.

I loved Art Ensemble of Chicago when I saw them - their edginess, sound smorgasbord, humour and theatricality - but, even then, their free passages were less interesting for me than their more accessible styles. Damn, I'm so instinctively unhip I might as well register with the Tories lol

Love this one by Cecil Taylor and AROC - totally goofy but far less abrasive than Ornette ... it's like an amazing Bugs Bunny sountrack :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah5OVkgUtF8
In contrast, I find Coleman's free jazz stuff to be relaxing and meditative! But two people can listen to the same thing and form very different opinions - music is just that subjective.
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:04 AM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

It was like / what are you doing / we were on the same bill at Storyville in Boston
in 1959 with George Wein //// ////
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Old 04-18-2012, 05:50 AM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

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In contrast, I find Coleman's free jazz stuff to be relaxing and meditative!
Really? I find his music abrasive and jarring. I'll have to try again some time. Of the renegades of that era I far prefer Monk.

Butch, how has your view of Ornette changed over the years? Or has it? :)

Any tales from that gig? Amazing to play on the same bill as a legend.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:03 PM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

Like 8Mile, I had already been familiar with "free jazz" via Trane by the time I heard Ornette.

Bash me if you want - I don't care for most of the music classified as free jazz. I've spent hours and hours trying to warm up to it and it doesn't reach me musically. This goes for Trane's "free jazz" period as well as Ornette and other artists I've heard (Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Sun Ra, etc...). I'm well educated on the jazz genre but this one very aspect of it does nothing for me.
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:18 PM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

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Really? I find his music abrasive and jarring. I'll have to try again some time. Of the renegades of that era I far prefer Monk.
Well, if you find it abrasive and jarring now, you will probably find it abrasive and jarring again! I happen to think it's some of the best music that human beings have yet created, but of course people can have differences of opinion on that kind of thing. It is probably easier for me to understand how others find Coleman's free jazz to be abrasive and jarring, than it is for others to understand how I find it relaxing and meditative.

Monk was OK, but had a very limited repertoire, repolishing the same songs over and over again.
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Old 04-19-2012, 01:40 AM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

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Well, if you find it abrasive and jarring now, you will probably find it abrasive and jarring again! I happen to think it's some of the best music that human beings have yet created, but of course people can have differences of opinion on that kind of thing. It is probably easier for me to understand how others find Coleman's free jazz to be abrasive and jarring, than it is for others to understand how I find it relaxing and meditative.

Monk was OK, but had a very limited repertoire, repolishing the same songs over and over again.
Funny thing ... this Ornette Coleman track, Ramblin', was suggested to me by YouTube just after reading your post and was about to give Ornette another chance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqwdRBWvPs0

This one is relaxing and I actually enjoyed it, but it's bop. Still, that's something because I only enjoy a fairly small % or bop too.
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:02 AM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

Ornette certainly came from bop, although if you had suggested to bop musicians at the time that Ornette's music was bop, you'd have probably started a riot :)

One of my faves that kind of defies categorization. It's unmistakably jazz, though, and (IMO) unmistakably great: http://youtu.be/DNbD1JIH344
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:19 AM
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Default Re: What was your first time listening to Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman like?

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Ornette certainly came from bop, although if you had suggested to bop musicians at the time that Ornette's music was bop, you'd have probably started a riot :)

One of my faves that kind of defies categorization. It's unmistakably jazz, though, and (IMO) unmistakably great: http://youtu.be/DNbD1JIH344
Larry, with that last one I'm stuck in the middle. I found the rhythm section meditative (and generally fabulous) but on the first listen the twin horns grated on me, especially the trumpet. I liked them a lot at first but, to my ear, they overstayed their welcome.

Classification? Cool Afro avant-garde jazz :)

Second listen and I feel far more comfortable with the horns ... obviously one of those things that rewards extra listening.
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