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Paul Bley: Notes On Ornette

Considering the cataclysmic nature of his impact and the high regard in which his compositions are held, it’s remarkable how seldom Ornette Coleman gets covered. Part of the reason is that the changes set into motion by the free-jazz revolution didn’t slow down until things like measurable time and definable pitch were no longer basic to the music. So the avant-garde that Coleman had inspired rarely played his tunes or even, with a few exceptions, copped many of his licks-quite a contrast to the hard-boppers’ dissection of the Parker oeuvre. At the same time, many in the mainstream world still view Ornette as a charlatan. It’s really still a small number that enjoy blowing over a swing rhythm without predetermined harmonic references.

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