Monday, December 27, 2010

Ornette Coleman - Body Meta (1975)

File:Body Meta.jpg

Here's a relative obscurity from the mighty oeuvre of Ornette Coleman.
Recorded in Paris in December 1975, a year before his more famous Dancing in your Head, but not released until the year after Dancing, and on the independent Artists House label. Body Meta also features the same band that would later record Dancing and, with a few personnel changes, become Prime Time.

I know very little about the Artists House label, other than that its Wiki page confirms that it was "short-lived." I've got maybe half a dozen releases on the label, and all of them are beautifully presented with high-quality artwork and little booklets with artist discographies and manuscripts of some of the songs. They also sound fantastic, with mastering by such esteemed engineers as Rudy van Gelder and Robert Ludwig (this one has Ludwig's telltale RL inscribed in the runoff groove).

I think this one might have been reissued on CD in the 1990s, but the CD seems to be long out of print. I think I bought this LP at Surry Hills markets in around 1991, and haven't played it for ages. Listening to it again, in some ways I think I prefer this to Dancing in your Head, in that it seems to have a bit more more air in the improvisations than those on Dancing. It shares the simple, almost childlike, heads of tunes that Dancing has, upon which Ornette and the band elaborate with increasingly complex, elliptical improvisations.

I saw Ornette with his current band (having seen him in Europe back in the '90s, both with acoustic quartet with piano and with Prime Time) at the Opera House early in 2008, and he's lost none of his astonishing ability to invent melody, and to communicate complex musical ideas directly to his audience. This comes across less directly on his recordings, but I find this one to be one of his more accessible efforts.

Artists House, 1978, Cat # AH 9401

Ornette Coleman - Alto Saxophone
Bern Nix - Guitar
Charlie Ellerbee - Guitar
Jamaaladeen Tacuma - Bass Guitar
Ronald Shannon Jackson - Drums

A1: Voice Poetry (8:08)
A2: Home Grown (7:43)
B1: Macho Woman (7:40)
B2: Fou Amour (8:35)
B3: European Echoes (9:38)

320kbps mp3
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