Thanks to Andrew J Shields for reminding me to listen again to Ornette Coleman. When I was a teenager starting to play jazz on alto sax and clarinet, in the late 50s and early 60s, Ornette was in the vanguard of the avant garde. To conventional sax players he was a bit of a bogeyman. “He plays a plastic sax, did you know?” And he played on really hard reeds, like #7s (while I was playing Van Doren #3s) to get that hard-edged sound. I remember discussing him with Tubby Hayes and Alan Bold (who also played alto) at an Art College Ball (my, the company I kept in them days).
Looking back now he seems innovative, certainly, but not as far out as some – say Albert Ayler.
His song ‘Lonely Woman’ is as melodic and beautiful as any, and there are some excellent versions out there. The MJQ’s one is probably my favourite, but here’s a take by the composer himself. I hope you like it.