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Ornette Coleman & Prime Time - In All Languages CD (album) cover

IN ALL LANGUAGES

Ornette Coleman & Prime Time

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 2 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars After making a bold splash by switching from jazz to jazz-rock in the late 70s, Ornette Coleman did not record again with his progressive fusion ensemble, Prime Time, until 1987. So how does Ornette's unique musical vision hold up under the hard plastic glare of the 80s, let's just say the results are mixed. First of all it should be pointed out that this album is actually two records in one. The first record involves new recordings of Coleman's classic avant-jazz quartet; and the second, his unique fusion group Prime Time.

The Prime Time record covers a couple of different styles including rock driven free-jazz, 80s styled looped beats with occasional sampled 'hits', as well as some classic 'Ornette-jazz' that is unsuccessfully 'updated' and hence encumbered and harnessed to overly loud 80s styled gated snare beats. On the other hand, there are also some very successful attempts at weird avant world beat in the mix too. Overall the music is very creative and well composed. Coleman has a stellar cast of musicians on hand and the way they contrapuntally snake around each other and play the interconnecting lines that are expected in Coleman's arrangements is nothing short of genius. The big question though is how well do the attempts to sound contemporary jive with Coleman's unshakable timeless music.

Sometimes the mix of 'modern' (80s) sounds with Ornette's organic ascetic can work well as in Space Church (Continuous Service) where sampled orchestra passages, frantic jazz funk bass, free-rhythm drums and Ornette's plaintive melody combine to make a style never to be heard again. Overall though, the many cuts on these two sides work best when the music is unhampered by overly heavy drums or early sampling technology.

The record featuring Ornette's classic quartet is pure genius. It is interesting to hear this quartet with more modern recording technology, but personally I prefer the sound they had in the 60s. This was a real interesting double album for 1987, with one record that looked back at greatness, and another that looked forward to possibilities.

js (Easy Money) | 4/5 |

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