Poem for Ornette Coleman…

ornette_coleman

I first became a fan of Ornette Coleman back in the early 1980s, when I took out At The Golden Circle Vol. 1 from the local library.

What appealed to my cold and distant teenage soul was the Blue Note-designed LP cover. The icy backdrop, the too cool for jazz-school threesome, the black & white of it all.

131

Izenzon, Coleman & Moffett

So, after getting ATGCV1 (as they call it) home I excitedly put it on my Garrard and sat down to be entertained by some ‘jazz’.

Oops.

Yeah, well, when I said ‘fan’, I meant ‘poser’… It would take a good few years until I really got a gist of what he was doing. And even then…

He died in 2015. I wrote this rhymin’ poem for him…

Poem For O.C.   

When Ornette Coleman
began performing
he played a plastic sax.
His old white Grafton
provoked bitter laughter
and still they think he’s crap.

They called him fraud
‘cos Bird was their God,
true descendant of the blues, whereas
his sound grew jeers
too new for old ears
who thought, ‘This just ain’t jazz’.

Even his band,
the hippest in the land,
Haden, Higgins and Cherry
had their own doubts
on the ins and outs
of his Harmolodic Theory.

Then Free Jazz came
and it was more of the same
the Jazz Nazis were united:
‘A din! A noise!
Like children with toys!
Music for the benighted!’

Well, perhaps there’s a claim
with the avant and strange
some questions do need their voicing –
but as his horn cries
let’s not analyse
it’s time we were Rejoicing.

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O.C. graftin’ on the Grafton…

Go and listen, padawan…

JKI

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