Tuesday, June 2, 2009

for ornette coleman

for ornette coleman

“get out of town before we
finish u off ourselves…”
the baton rouge police
to a semi-conscious
ornette coleman, 1948

ornette, angular & engaged with the avant garde
played skeletal melodies all over inside/out
changes fusing honky-tonk & bebop,
blues & the funkiest funk; created music free from
prevailing convention–harmolodics–leaping, bending
honking layered solos, polytonal/poly
travelogues, new music that mesmerized
enthralled, confused & befuddled cognoscenti &

hipster alike. an unrelenting emblem of controversy.
u’ve been lauded by bernstein, schuller & john lewis,
while vilified by miles, mingus, & kenny dorham.
come a long way from ft worth, ornette!
from beat up in baton rouge to inducted into the
of arts & letters; from having yr tenor
thrown into the
mighty mississippi to a genius award
there have been more highs & lows in yr life than in
solos. but when the controversy is no more, when
honors & obloquies are forgotten,
i will call up as
i often do from the permanent & limitless
spaces of
my own music brain the 9 minutes & 41 seconds

of rapture, the elated bliss of
the tune “once only”
waiting on the album, sound
grammar, like a conch
shell on the beach to be put to the
ear & listened
to… & nothing else will matter!

©Joseph McNair; 2008

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea you were into so much jazz, and that time period when music was being created. Many suffered during that time but still more amazing so is that you have heard their suffering and so left a lamment for all those who have been crushed be the heel of ignorance and fear.