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

Ornette Coleman: The Complete Science Fiction Sessions

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.

The Complete Science Fiction Sessions completes Coleman’s recorded output for Columbia. A provocative two-CD set combining 1971’s Science Fiction and 1972’s Broken Shadows, neither of which has ever before been available on domestic CD, it presents an astonishing variety with several different lineups-from a reunion of his original 1959 quartet with pocket trumpeter Don Cherry, drummer Billy Higgins and bassist Charlie Haden, to expanded works for 12-piece ensemble featuring guitarist Jim Hall and pianist Cedar Walton, to a free-blowing freak-out behind poet David Henderson and a bluesy throwdown with singer Webster Hall, Coleman’s old friend from Fort Worth.

The five tracks with the original quartet-“Civilization Day,” “Street Woman,” “Country Town Blues” and alternate takes of “Civilization Day” and “Street Woman”-are brilliant. Haden’s playing is particularly strong, providing a tether for the mercurial Coleman-Cherry chemistry. And Higgins is Higgins-an ever-swinging, pulsating presence, reacting in the moment with big ears and supple wrists.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.