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Ornette Coleman at the SF Jazz Festival

On the chilly, breezy evening, a large crowd, many arriving on bicycles, converged on the imposing Stadhuis-Muziektheater in Amsterdam for a performance by the Dutch National Ballet. Just a few blocks further along the Oude Schans canal, beneath the illuminated church tower of the Zuiderkerk, the Cosmosamatics played the Bimhuis, Amsterdam’s primary venue for “jazz & improvisatie muziek.” It is impossible to say which crowd had more fun, but it is almost certain that the smaller one at the Bimhuis underwent a hairier, edgier, more transformative experience.

For name recognition reasons, alto saxophonist Sonny Simmons was given top billing at the Bimhuis, but the Cosmosamatics are actually a cooperative ensemble. Multireed instrumentalist Michael Marcus (who played mostly baritone but also saxello and clarinet) and drummer Jay Rosen complete the trio.

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