If videos of Sonny are removed, will the legend grow?

Gone from Youtube are two brief but vivid excerpts from Sonny Rollins' 80th birthday concert at the Beacon Theater on Sept. 10 -- one showing the great tenor saxophonist in duet with percussionist Sammy Figueroa, the second documenting the surprise, climactic contributions of Ornette Coleman to the set, and Rollins' inspired improvised responses. What a shame! -- from at least one perspective. Or should those visuals never have been made public without the artists' permissions?  … [Read more...]

Video for fans of Sonny Rollins & harmolodics

Too good to not post: Ornette Coleman was surprise guest with Sonny Rollins at his fast-become-famous Beacon Theater 80th birthday party on September 10 (backstage there was birthday cake shaped like a saxophone, made of marzipan). Note SR's quote at about 10 minutes in of "I'll Take Manhattan," which he certainly did. [[As of 9/15/2010 this video has been removed from Youtube by it's "user." Research will follow.  … [Read more...]

Sonny the sax king

At age 80, Sonny Rollins is indisputably the greatest living jazz tenor saxophonist, proved last night throughout a 2-hour set at New York's sold-out Beacon Theater in which harmolodic sage Ornette Coleman sat in, backed by drummer Roy Haynes and bassist Christian McBride, on "Tenor Madness."  "Sonnymoon For Two". Rollins was hunched and hobbled when he came onstage, but once he started blowing he stood upright and blasted his big bold sound with energy that brooked no diminishment of strength or inspiration, bending only to fire … [Read more...]

Italy here I come

The Siena Jazz Workshop has me present my book Miles Ornette Cecil - Jazz Beyond Jazz (buy it for your Kindle!) Sunday, July 25 at 10 am (yes, in Siena, Italy). Can you suggest unmissable music in Tuscany (or Vetirbo through July 31? … [Read more...]

Happy Birthday Ornette Coleman, roots avant-gardist

Composer, conceptualist and multi-instrumentalist Ornette Coleman, b. March 9 1930, is widely known for "free jazz" -- which is routinely depicted as the most abstract and daunting music to emerge from the U.S. But this overlooks Ornette's deep roots in blues from the Southwest and his fealty to the freedom of expression, mobility and individuality that has made the U.S. great. … [Read more...]

Breadth-of-jazz radio WKCR fetes Ornette, Bix

Next week WKCR-FM 89.9 www.wkcr.org, promises all-day music of Ornette Coleman and Bix Beiderbecke, linking the "free jazz" iconoclast (turning 80 Mar 9) to the Roaring '20s jazz-mad kid cornetist/pianist (who would be 107 on March 10, if he hadn't drunk himself to death at age 28 in 1931). Mark your calendars now!  … [Read more...]

Last week in New York beyond jazz

The season for creative music opened with several roars: Ornette Coleman triumphed at Jazz at Lincoln Center -- Postive Catastrophe at the New Languages Festival was an absolute delight -- Los Angeles trumpeter Bobby Bradford lead an ace quintet at the Festival of New Trumpets at the Jazz Standard -- and those are only the gigs I could make, I missed so many more.Ornette Quartet, photo by Nick Himmel, courtesy Jazz at Lincoln Center … [Read more...]

Best American city for jazz? Chicago

I'm a Chicago homie -- long removed but never really gone -- so don't expect objectivity, but a recent visit proved my native metropolis is #1 in America and maybe everywhere for its active, creative, meaningful, almost-economically-viable, neighborhood-rooted, exploratory and world class jazz. I say this even as my dearly adopted New York City kickstarts as freshly energized a fall season as any I recall.Jazz is the lifeblood of Chicago in a way it ain't in NYC, at least not right now. Jazz-soul-blues is Chicago's street music. Chicago's … [Read more...]

Today’s the day NYC goes beyond jazz

On September 17,New York kicks off a fall season more highly charged with new creative energies than any in memory. An army of mostly young, skilled, ambitious and devoted musicians is making itself heard in the East Village, Soho, Brooklyn, on the Lower West Side and in the clubs -- while benevolence is cast by the first ever performance -- at last -- of Ornette Coleman at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Sept. 26. … [Read more...]

best review ever of Miles Ornette Cecil — Jazz Beyond Jazz

I'm humbled by writer-poet-performance artist Kirpal Gordon's appreciation of and insight into my book on the avant garde through the models of Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor, in the just-posted NOLA issue of Big Bridge magazine. He's captured my intent and says I accomplished what I meant to. See if you agree.   howardmandel.com Subscribe by Email or RSS All JBJ posts … [Read more...]

Reasons to be cheerful: Wynton books Ornette

Wynton Marsalis has high regard for the music of Ornette Coleman -- as demonstrated by Jazz at Lincoln Center's just-released 2009-2010 concert schedule, which begins next September 26 with a single performance by Coleman's quartet featuring two bassists and his son Denardo on drums. This booking might seem like a point of departure for JALC, which has a reputation for being tradition- rather than innovation-minded, but it really isn't. The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra performed its members' original arrangements of Pulitzer Prize-winning … [Read more...]

Mostly Other People’s killer liner notes

Mostly Other People Do The Killing is a super-serious-with-a-sense-of-humor Philadelphia-based  quartet paying homage to Ornette Coleman with its hot new album This Is Our Moosic.The cd's cover photo cops and mocks the oh-so-cool look of Coleman's earth-shaking quartet on its classic 1960 release This Is Our Music  -- but more impressive is the young band's music, which in its leader's explicit liner notes endorses Coleman's revolutionary "free jazz"  concept and in ensemble play expands upon it without being imitative. A nominee for best album … [Read more...]