A tremendous package of work from Ornette Coleman – five albums issued under his own name, and one collaboration with Jackie McLean
too! First up are At The Golden Circle Vols 1 & 2 – important second chapter work from Ornette Coleman – a record that marked a real shift in his sound from the Atlantic Records years – issued by Blue Note at a level that gave the rest of the world a chance to see what Ornette had been cooking up on the underground scene! The album was recorded in Stockholm – in the tradition of European live performances that saw Coleman grow so strongly in the mid 60s – and the tracks are long, free, and full of improvised moments – with Ornette adding in trumpet and violin next to his familiar alto – in a trio with David Izenzon on bass and Charles Moffett on drums – both fantastic players who can be loose at the right moments, and bring things back at others. Tracks are long and unbridled – with less of the rhythmic changes that you'd hear in work by the classic quartet, and more of a full-on fierce soloing mode. Titles include "Snowflakes & Sunshine", "Morning Song", "Faces & Places", "Dee Dee", "Dawn", "The Riddle", and "Antiques". Next is Empty Foxhole – one of our favorite Ornette Coleman albums of the post-Atlantic 60s years – a set that still hangs onto some of the bold rhythmic conception of his previous records, but also points the way towards his freer jazz modes to come! The group's a trio – with really tremendous work from Charlie Haden on bass, able to match Coleman's energy with effortless ease, and really getting a lot of room to leave his mark on the music – plus the very young (10!) Denardo Coleman, who plays drums here with this stark, simple style that's not only completely unique, but which also leaves a lot of open room left for Haden and Ornette to really stretch out. Ornette plays his usual alto, plus trumpet and violin – and titles include "Good Old Days", "The Empty Foxhole", "Zig Zag", and "Freeway Express". Next is New York Is Now – a pretty bold statement from saxophonist Ornette Coleman, but one that definitely shows his shift in role – from a major force on the LA underground of the early 60s, to an artist who was helping pave the way for a huge wave of growth on the New York downtown scene in years to come! Ornette's at his most late 60s unbridled here – freer than before, and working with a lineup that includes Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums – still no piano at all – plus great work from Dewey Redman on tenor, who really burst into new prominence with this album. Ornette plays a bit of violin alongside alto sax – and tracks include "Toy Dance", "Round Trip", "Broad Way Blues", and "We Now Interrupt For A Commercial". Then comes Love Call – a really great late 60s session from Ornette Coleman – one that shows is increasing expansion in sounds and styles, and which also offers a bridge between avant jazz generations too! That bridge comes in the presence of Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums – a surprising Coltrane rhythm duo, working here with Ornette's mindblowing work on alto sax, and tenor from a young Dewey Redman – already a crucially intense player here next to Coleman, as both are set free in a group without any piano – that Ornette melding of rhythm and melody, but with a very different vibe than the Atlantic years! Coleman blows trumpet on one tune – and titles include "Love Call", "Airborne", "Check Out Time", and "Open To The Public". The set also includes the album New & Old Gospel – one of Jackie McLean
's last "new thing" albums for Blue Note – and a very unique record that features Ornette Coleman on trumpet! The sound here is stark and hard – slight hints of the soulfulness that the "gospel" in the title might imply, mixed with the angular exploratory sound that McLean
had been forging at Blue Note during the mid 60s – a wonderful balance that really gives the record a lot of bite! The album's easily one of the most "out" that McLean
ever recorded, and the group also includes Lamont Johnson on piano, Scott Holt on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums – all pushing themselves in the company of the avant jazz giants. Tracks include the extended "Lifeline" suite, which takes up all of side one – plus "Old Gospel" and "Strange As It Seems".
(Fantastic Tone Poet package – a slipcover featuring 6 albums all done in the heavy vinyl/cover of the series – plus a booklet of notes too!)