To the Masonic Auditorium last night to see the great Ornette Coleman. Playing with his son Denardo on drums (who appeared for the first time on a Coleman record at age 8!), plus two virtuoso bassists. Generally regarded as the originator of free jazz, Ornette is now 75.
He’s never been a powerful player — Ornette’s sensibility is finer, more abstract than that. More of an idea guy. Through the first few songs, worried that he sounded 75 — less vital than he once did, less harmolodic. But then something clicked, the energy came together, the compositions started to fulfill themselves. The (very unusual) two-bass configuration added something wonderfully rich and grounded, a smooth tangle of wood in the marsh, something to stand on. As the evening progressed, Ornette started to sound younger and younger, his inventions fresher, more tangible. The music was happening in so many dimensions at once, but never once sounded chaotic, only becoming more focused as the evening wove its way forward. Afraid to try and put more into words.
The Dancing In Our Heads continued for hours afterwards; it took dry martinis and a belly full of olive bread to come down.