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Ornette Coleman & Prime Time

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Ornette Coleman & Prime Time Dancing In Your Head ( as Ornette Coleman) album cover
3.51 | 11 ratings | 2 reviews | 18% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Theme From A Symphony (Variation One) 15:47
2. Theme From A Symphony 11:10

3. Midnight Sunrise 4:45
4. Midnight Sunrise 3:49

Line-up / Musicians

Ornette Coleman (as)
Charles Ellerbee, Bern Nix (g)
Rudy MacDaniel (b)
Ronald Shannon Jackson (d)

Releases information

Horizon Records and Tapes (US) SP-722 LP
A & M Records, CD 396 999-2 (1989) (US)
Polygram CD 3969992 (1999)
Verve Records , CD 314 543 519-2 (2000) (US)
Universal Distribution CD (2003) 5175 / 9229
Audio CD Polygram Records (2000)
Audio CD Universal Japan (2005)

Recorded in Paris in 1976.Two pieces called "Midnight Sunrise," taken from the extensive tapes he made in 1973 playing with the Master Musicians of Jajouka, the hypnotic Moroccan ensemble of winds, strings, and drums (present on CD versions only as bonuses)

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ORNETTE COLEMAN & PRIME TIME Dancing In Your Head ( as Ornette Coleman) ratings distribution

(11 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ORNETTE COLEMAN & PRIME TIME Dancing In Your Head ( as Ornette Coleman) reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars In 1976 the world of jazz rock fusion was losing all of it's spark. Most of the great innovators of the early 70s were settling into mellow 'fuzak' grooves and watching the cash roll in. Miles had retired and taken his bizarre psychedelic Stockhausen/Hendrix/Sly Stone rock band with him. Billy Cobham was still making some noise, but soon he would succumb to the doldrums too. Meanwhile, in the world of rock, complacency was about to get a swift kick in the ass as The New York Dolls and The Ramones were about to take rock back to it's raw rockin roots. It's important that these two bands developed their shtick in NYC, because unlike London and the West Coast, punk rock in NYC was not as insular and it's influence spilled out onto almost every other NYC bred genre.

Did the emergence of punk rock help guide Ornette Coleman's decision to upset the boring apple cart of smooth dinner jazz, I'm not sure, but it did help set the stage in New York where artsy folks all wanted some of that raw punky ascetic in their music and other arts as well. Some even labeled Ornette's new ensemble with terms like 'punk-jazz' and 'punk- funk', but I don't recall ever hearing Coleman use any of those terms. All the same, this album was a total revolution in the world of jazz rock, and it inspired countless post-punk jazz and jazz-leaning artists to play in a more aggressive, gritty street-wise style. Some of the artists that would follow in the huge wake of this album include, Bill Laswell, Vernon Reid, Ronald Shannon Jackson, Curlew, Fred Frith's Massacre, John Zorn, Henry Threadgill, James White and Lester Bowie's Defunkt.

It is really hard to describe the music on here, Ornette's earlier avant-jazz and Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask masterpiece are about the only references I can come up with. Ronald Shannon Jackson's drumming on this album is very bizarre and does seem to carry a lot of influence from Beefheart's John French in that both are able to duplicate the sound of two drummers colliding with each other by themselves. The snarly intertwining guitars of Bern Nix and Charlie Ellerbee are fascinating and I wish Ornette would have backed off occasionally and given these guys more room to themselves.

Despite coming out of the urban New York scene, like much of Ornette's music, this album has a very rough unpolished and totally natural rural sound and feel to it. This music would sound fine being played on a porch in Mississippi with cigar box guitars and oatmeal box drums. I'm not sure how this album translates in today's music world, but when it came out in 1976, there was nothing else like it.

Review by Guldbamsen
4 stars Taunting teasing bobbing music

The 50s and 60s gave birth to a lot of cool and progressive jazz approaches that most vividly continued to fan out in all kinds of differentiating colours, shapes and sizes. Ornette Coleman released one of his pivotal records called The Shape of Jazz to come way back in 1959, and in many ways you could say that he foresaw a lot of things that made the impending experimentalism of the following decades so dense, free and I guess to some folks - too long away from the original roots in melodious blues music.

Ornette threw the manual in the bin straight away - and continued to do so when this band arouse to its feet in 1976, where the music business along with its crowd had changed quite a bit since the late 50s. We are talking humongous steps here, and that still doesn't quite put into focus just how much had changed in terms of experimenting with the musical palette. Fusion, prog and the avant guarde had suddenly popped by - and as a result of this, we now heard a man like Lou Reed releasing Metal Machine Music, and David Bowie all of a sudden turned Krautrock and strangely musically absent- minded with some help from Brian Eno. Pop stars dishing out avant releases as well as the opposite happening with bands like Weather Report and Nucleus that by now had turned infinitely more laid back and smooth. Everything was upside down, ready to be tried out, discarded or frowned upon.

Then you may be thinking this release sounds like a James Brown album, seeing as the tables were turning on artists and everybody was trying out new things, and though entirely unlike James Brown in nature and moods, this album is funky and sweaty like a well trained Jean Claude Van-Damme of the fusion world. It feels earthy and funky in a highly insecure way. We're talking mirage-funk here people! Somehow this Ornette Coleman gem named Dancing in Your Head manages to come out of the pen like a crazed horse with all the confidence of a drunk exotic dancer wearing a great big furry gorilla brassiere. First and foremost, Dancing in Your Head is bouncy like no other album - and in a manner that doesn't exactly inspire shake dat booty a la The Commodores-dancing, but more like operating a unicycle on a fisher boat in heavy seas. Wuuuooooopppp here we go!!! Bizarre tightrope balancing to say the least...

Frantic and sharp guitar riffage was the first thing that struck me. Not because it is the most prominent facet in the music, but I have honestly never heard anything like it from these urban jazz territories. Then you've got the drumming, which is bizarrely off-kilter and sounds like huge gulps of tinder being dropped in a hamper from the 2. floor. Jumping up and down like a small but highly overweight puppy, it struggles to keep time, rhythm and focus, but always stays impeccably tight and cacophonous like a chu chu train with a serious cough. Gluing this spectacle together, and forming the last leg of the rhythm section is bassist Rudy MacDaniel who thankfully pulls, heaves and contorts those elastic bands like a regular pasta masseur from down-town Naples. It helps the music along and generates a purposeful, groovy and wobbly foundation for the sax to run amok over.

Then we've got the main ingredient of our meal, which not too surprisingly is the saxophone. If you've ever heard Zappa's The Gumbo Variations before, then imagine this track being flung into a bonfire with radioactive mercury, silver bananas and a hefty dosage of nectarines and smack. This is New York right here! The playful and almost taunting wails of the sax are like a nine year old yelling: NAAHH NA NAH NAAAHH NAAHH!!! I feel reduced to a teasing toddler with a serious grin on my face, whenever I put this album on. It's like magic.

And no matter how much music that's been made in the decades following this album - music that sounds terrifyingly close to the one offered up here on Dancing in Your Head, - just remember that this was and still is the real deal! Nothing sounded like it back then, and while I struggle to find the appropriate words to give the album a fair parting gift in the form of a well described musical image, I fail to do just that, and I think it's mainly to do with this record's unique, rootless and innovative feel. The reason why I enjoy it so much, is because of all its contradictions. It is, above all, this album's opposite sides that together generate a powerful and most enjoyable ride, which was sonically unparalleled for a very long time. Had this album been just a tiny bit longer, I'd have given it the full monty, but as it is: 4.5 stars.

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