The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for the ‘Ornette Coleman’ Category

Relaunched FiveFour Label Offers Rare Jazz Classics from Ornette Coleman, Luis Bonfá, Gary Burton

with 2 comments

FiveFour, the jazz-oriented sister label of Cherry Red’s él imprint, had lain dormant since 2008 following releases by some of the genre’s greatest artists including Bill Evans, Buddy Rich and Milt Jackson. Founder Mike Alway has just reactivated FiveFour, however, and the label has just relaunched with three long out-of-print titles drawn from the Sony Music archives: Ornette Coleman’s Chappaqua Suite (1965), The Gary Burton Quartet’s In Concert (1968) and a two-fer from Luis Bonfá: The New Face of Bonfa (1970) and Introspection (1972).

The most demanding of the three titles, and perhaps the most rewarding for some listeners, is doubtless Coleman’s Chappaqua Suite. Free jazz pioneer Coleman was commissioned by director Conrad Rooks to compose a score to his film Chappaqua, a soon-to-be underground classic exploring Rooks’ drug addiction. The motion picture, released in 1967, featured appearances by Coleman (as the Peyote Eater) alongside other icons like William S. Burroughs (Opium Jones), Allen Ginsberg (Messie) and Ravi Shankar (Dieu de Soleil). But Rooks ultimately decided against using Coleman’s score, fearing it would overpower the film itself. Chappaqua’s music was provided in the end by Shankar and The Fugs; Fugs leader Ed Sanders also appeared in the movie. Columbia Records went ahead and issued Coleman’s intended score as Chappaqua Suite in 1965, before the actual film was completed and released.

Chappaqua Suite consists of four lengthy pieces of music, each one which actually took up one full side of the original double-LP set. Coleman, on alto saxophone and trumpet, is joined by David Izenson on bass and Charles Moffett on drums, plus Pharoah Sanders on tenor saxophone (on the fourth segment) as well as a studio orchestra arranged by Joseph Tekula. (The liner notes credited “eleven studio musicians.”) Taken as a whole, Chappaqua Suite certainly is a rather overpowering composition, typical of Coleman’s free jazz style but with a unique sound thanks to the presence of the orchestra. It can turn on a dime from pastoral to clattering, disturbing to swinging. Though heavily improvised and light on traditional melody and changes, Coleman’s control is never in question. It’s fierce and unrelenting, and if it’s not for everybody, it’s an expression of the saxophonist/composer’s singular, and influential, vision. FiveFour quotes Coleman: “I didn’t need to worry about keys, chords, [or] melody if I had that emotion that brought tears and laughter to people’s hearts.”] The original Columbia album was withdrawn from the catalogue shortly after its release, and has not been widely available since then, making FiveFour’s reissue most worthy, indeed!

After the jump: Bonfa’s bossa nova and Burton’s good, good, good vibes! Plus: track listings, pre-order links and more!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 4, 2012 at 10:08