Sunday, February 04, 2007

Ornette Coleman: The Shape of Jazz to Come

They say it's one of the best jazz records ever, but I really hadn't paid much attention over the years. Probably that's due to two things - it being labelled free, or avant-garde jazz, and the lack of a pianist in the ensemble. I dunno, I just like to hear chords and have the warmth of a piano supporting the music.

But, there comes a time when we let go a little and pick up those historical legends to find new discoveries. That's what I finally did, when Tower Record stores were all closing down and it was possible to get tons of stuff on the cheap.

It's a fun, enjoyable recording (even though now as I listen to it I think I probably won't pull it out all that much - maybe while cleaning or distracted with other things). A little bit wild and abstract like modern art, and some of it did remind me of madmen or drunks howling together in the streets... but not in an offensive way, if that makes sense.

Six songs, seemingly structured more than I had assumed, and they move along nicely as the bass keeps walking and the horns keep singing, unrestrained and free. Near the end of the album, it does begin to feel as if it's repeating itself, but at least it's not a mess, which is why I appreciate it more than I thought I would. Sometimes it just takes time.

Atlantic records, 1959. Coleman (alto sax), Don Cherry (cornet), Charlie Haden (bass), Billy Higgins (drums).


John Lester said...

Yes, this is a really nice blog, keep it growning...

Anonymous said...

Hi There,

I am wanted to drop you a line as i am working on a Jazz release at the moment & i would love you to take a listen & maybe comment about it on your blog...

If interested drop us an email on

P3 to release a new album:

Alison Burns & Martin Taylor: 1AM

Inspired by the celebrated partnership of Joe Pass and Ella Fitzgerald comes a unique new album from Scotland’s fastest rising jazz star Alison Burns, featuring legendary guitarist Martin Taylor.

Released 16th June 2008

When Grammy award winning guitarist Martin Taylor, who has collaborated with great singers including Peggy Lee, Martin Carthy, Jamie Cullum, Dionne Warwick and Bryn Terfel, decided to record a special duo album with a vocalist he chose the UK's fastest rising star, Scottish jazz sensation Alison Burns.

This fabulous new album takes its inspiration from the Grammy award winning collaboration between Joe Pass & Ella Fitzgerald, mixing repertoire from The Great American Songbook and contemporary material from the likes of James Taylor and Stevie Wonder. Both Alison and Martin were looking to create the type of chemistry and interaction one only gets with two instruments. The way both the guitar and vocal weave together and play off each other is electrifying. All the tracks on the album were recorded live in the studio, in order to capture the subtle interplay between the two instruments. The result is an album of intimacy and warmth and Alison, like Ella Fitzgerald, has made the solo guitar accompaniment the perfect melodic foil for her unique vocal style.

The first song the pair recorded is a completely new take on Stevie Wonder’s If It’s Magic, which really lends itself to Martin’s guitar technique and Alison’s rich velvety vocals. The haunting True is a tribute to Alison’s brother who served with the SAS – and tragically died in action - during the Falklands War in 1982. Martin had composed the music several years ago, but it wasn't until now, 25 years after Alison pilgrimage to The Falklands to visit the sight of her brother's death, that she felt she could put her emotions down in song. At one point the song was due to be recorded by none other than Dolly Parton! He’s A Tramp, made famous by Peggy Lee in the hit Disney movie Lady And The Tramp was chosen by Alison because of her love of animals – she has even adopted a stray cat and a rescue Donkey!

Alison’s journey to becoming one of Europe’s best female jazz singers is a truly remarkable one. Born and raised in Scotland, Alison is a fully qualified lawyer – although the way she funded her studies through constant gigging showed where her eventual career might lead! Since releasing her debut album last year, which received plaudits from Michael Parkinson, Alison has built up an international following which has seen her perform concerts everywhere from a communist party headquarters in Shanghai to London’s prestigious Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. Indeed she regularly plays to audiences of thousands in Asia where she enjoys much success. Her current partnership with Martin Taylor looks set to lift Alison’s critical and commercial standing even further.

At home in any setting, from festival stages to intimate venues, Alison Burns never fails to touch the audience with her soul-stirring performances. In Summer 2008 the duo will tour the UK to promote this new album (see dates below) which has been produced by legendary record producer Tony Platt (Bob Marley, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Buddy Guy).

Alison Burns & Martin Taylor 2008 Tour Dates:

30th May Edinburgh The Queens Hall
31st May Glasgow City Halls
6th June Darlington Arts Centre
19th June Haverhill Arts Centre
22nd June Harlow Market Square (Midsummer Music Festival)
23rd June London Ronnie Scott’s
24th June London Ronnie Scott’s
4th July Southport Arts Centre
29th July Pocklington Arts Centre
30th July Harrogate Harrogate International Festival
9th August Brecon The Guildhall (Brecon Jazz Festival)
23rd August Dundee Rep Theatre

For all press enquiries please contact:

Adam Nicol(Online) 0208 746 4610
Doug Hall 020 8746 4608

Alistair Bankier (National Press) 020 8746 4607 / 07970 428 257

Hana Charlesworth (Regional Press/Regional Radio) 020 8746 4609

“Burns's voice strikes the right balance between sensitivity and power”
HMV Choice

“One of Scotland’s foremost jazz singers”
Glasgow Herald

“Very good indeed”
Michael Parkinson

“Taylor is the finest British guitarist of his generation”
The Times

Notes to Editors

Surrounded by the surfeit of little girl voices prevalent in jazz today, it's almost a relief to encounter a mature but flexible voice like Alison Burns. Beyond the vocal quality is imaginative delivery and interpretation that comes from experience in life as well as extensive touring in the US, UK, Italy and China. Her debut album Kissing Bug featuring Guy Barker and David Newton and produced by guitarist Martin Taylor has received rave reviews.

Born in Scotland, Alison grew up drawing inspiration from the recordings of the jazz greats such as Sarah Vaughn, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald. She went to the University of Dundee to study Law and funded her studies by gigging most nights in the city’s jazz clubs. After briefly practising at a firm in London, she decided to follow her true passion and took up singing full time. Now in demand as much abroad as in the UK she has performed concerts in Tokyo, Nashville, New York, Cannes, Capri and Shanghai. She even performed at a private party hosted by Michael Parkinson, who has declared himself a massive fan. In her spare time, she enjoys DIY, cooking on her traditional Aga and looking after her cat. When she’s not touring around the world, Alison divides her time between a home in the Scottish Highlands and a recently renovated Italian villa.

Award winning guitarist Martin Taylor has established a unique musical career as an internationally acclaimed musician, and his inimitable style has seen him recognised as the world's foremost exponent of solo jazz guitar playing.

Although completely self taught, he has enjoyed a remarkable musical career spanning four decades and during that time has invented and developed a way of playing the guitar that is admired - and often imitated - by guitarists all over the world. As well as being a true guitar innovator, he is also a master concert performer, dazzling audiences with his solo shows, which combine virtuosity, emotion, humour, with a strong stage presence.

He spends much of the year travelling the world, playing in concert halls in Europe, North America, Japan, Asia, and Australasia.

Digirammy said...

I am doing my part to spread the word for Gordin Goodwin. My friends little brother had me listen to 1 of his songs because they played it in the Jazz Group at school and wow! It is available for free download here, just click away and you can hear for yourself.


nice blog! my name is fabian, i work for ANALOGSOUL, a german network for fantastic music and i would love to send you some music. maybe you are interested. for that i need some contact info. maybe you can send me a short mail to: kontakt (at) analogsoul (dot) de

thanks in advance.

Maddie said...

Hi, Nice post thanks for sharing. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back.



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