Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Ornette Coleman and Joachim Kuhn: Colors

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

This stage of Ornette Coleman’s fascinating and historic sojourn evidences a new openness to the explorative possibilities afforded him by the piano. Evidence is offered by the inclusion of Geri Allen in his quartet a couple of seasons back, and the subsequent quartet recording they made in ’96, as well as the two duets on Allen’s latest record. Now comes the newest issue from Ornette and Denardo’s Harmolodic imprimatur, a concert recording of Coleman’s 1996 Leipzig meeting with pianist Joachim Kuhn in the latter’s hometown.

Where Allen is somewhat more cerebral, decorative yet reflective, Kuhn is headstrong with European ardor and brimming with avenues for Coleman to travel down. No need for comparison as both approaches are quite effective foils for Coleman, whose sense of music never wavers. “Story Willing” offers Ornette’s keening alto, cascading and tumbling but ever mindful of Kuhn’s presence. Coleman’s always chatty, conversational style lends itself well to this form. Largely because his is such a significant alto sax voice, I do still have a hard time with his violin and trumpet, which he thankfully employs to only minor effect.