A reader asks: “Could you please post the name of the [Ornette] Coleman song sampled for that sketch” on Steven Colbert’s Comedy Central show of October 9?
Colbert pulled one of his trademark reverses, ridiculing the vast emptiness of smug superiority by goofing on a 10-second snatch of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musician’s live recording Sound Grammar. Research suggests the excerpt Brother Steve C swung along to so sillily before remarking, “God, that’s unbearable. Ergo it must be good!” was from the first track on the album, “Jordan” (named for Coleman’s cousin and longtime consigliere James Jordan, former director of the New York State Council on the Arts’ music program). It seems to occur about 4 minutes 50 seconds in, at the climax of a duet of acoustic bassists Greg Cohen and Tony Falanga, driven by drummer Denardo Coleman.
Listening again, I admit an error: I don’t think Ornette’s playing violin on this, but rather it’s the interaction of the two bassists, bowing very high and walking very fast, without him on violin or sax. To hear OC’s violin in its first bloom and full glory, check out “Snowflakes and Sunshine” from his 1963 album Live at the Golden Circle, Vol. 2; for an early example of his harmolodic string concept, there’s “Dedication to Poets and Writers” from Ornette Coleman, Town Hall 1962.