DAY 135: Ornette

June 19th, 2015 § 0 comments

First things first. Although I, like everyone else, was grief-struck to hear of Ornette Coleman’s passing last week (was he not indestructible?), a meditation on his long career will provide a welcome change from wasting my megabytes thundering pointlessly, like another Amos, against the brutality and heartlessness of the age. If you’re my age you’ll remember how mystified and annoyed – or joyful – we/they all were at the

Michael Horovitz with Ornette ColemanWith poet Michael Horovitz

sound of this new seemingly formless music. I quote from the usually reliable World Socialist Website:

‘While taking a break from his job as a stock boy in a Los Angeles department store in the 1950s, Coleman one day noticed a picture of a woman hanging in a gallery. “In the background there was everything you could imagine that was wealthy,” said Coleman, “all in her background—but she was so sad. And I said, ‘Oh my goodness. I understand this feeling. I have not experienced this wealth, but I understand the feeling.’ I went home and wrote ‘Lonely Woman’…I related the condition to myself, wrote this song, and ever since it has grown and grown and grown.”’

Here’s an early sample (from the 1959 ‘Tomorrow is the Question’), the lovely ‘Compassion‘. I won’t quote the reviews, just remind you of how Beethoven’s Rasumovsky no. 1 was received by the players (I learned the other day) as ‘a joke‘, while the cellist ‘trampled his part under foot as a contemptible mystification’. Why don’t today’s players treat the works of Glass and Reich, never mind Xenakis, with the same hauteur? Beethoven, like Coleman maybe and in another context Stendhal, was content to claim that his work was ‘for tomorrow’

Well, in the meanwhile we do still have B_l0B6hUcAA8DqYTwo old men, Ornette’s 85th birthday party

Cecil Taylor who is a bit older, and keeps on hitting the keys as hard as ever. In fact, it sometimes seems as if he’s in heaven already, so the question of death doesn’t arise. To quote Miles Davis on his playing:

‘Take it off! That’s some sad shit, man. In the first place, I hear some Charlie Parker cliches. . . . They don’t even fit. Is that what the critics are digging? Them critics better stop having coffee. If there ain’t nothing to listen to, they might as well admit it. Just to take something like that and say it’s great, because there ain’t nothing to listen to, that’s like going out and getting a prostitute.’

Religious festivals

The month of Ramadan has started amid general celebration - CH3RrVHVEAAnVqr

Climbing the Separation Wall to worship at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

No war so far, nothing worse than an arson attack on the Church of the Loaves and Fishes in Galilee, apparently a settler-on-Christian hate crime (they do come in all shapes and sizes). So, celebrate while you can…CHz2H-JVEAAzAPi

Iftar in Gaza among the ruins

Smartypants phone

I, like you perhaps, reader, found to my surprise that my phone took pleasure in guessing what I was about to write and offering me a choice of guesses. I was charmed when, having typed the first five letters of inshallah, the phone guessed the rest – obviously opting for an inclusive multicultural vocabulary. But two days ago, after the letters ‘bad’, the phone took it on itself to propose ‘Badiou’.badiouAlain Badiou and friend

What kind of a rarefied metaphysical world does it think I live in? I imagine – but haven’t tested – that trying to type ‘found’ will make the phone guess ‘Foucault’, and typing ‘tar’ will lead to ‘Tarkovsky’. The phone knows my location, or so it says; it knows I don’t live in Hampstead; and yet it persists in treating me as though I’m texting for a pretentious post-modern dating agency. I may yet, as with Hal in 2001, have to remove its ‘front-brain functions’ so that it can’t predict anything and is left singing ‘Daisy, Daisy’. And I’ll tell Siri that Steve Jobs has died, which apparently causes major malfunction.

Q. I had about $150,000 on my platinum Amex card. I used it to buy a Maserati in Singapore, exported it to Somalia, sold it to a warlord (with help from a subprime lender) and invested the profits in bitcoins. Can the government force me to reveal my key?

A. Whose government? Which part of Somalia? Your story is hopelessly short on detail. It’s hard to imagine anyone driving a Maserati for long in Somalia, although the subprime lender might not be able to disable the ignition key

bolenderMary Bolender (Las Vegas), whose car was remotely disabled by the lender when her ten-year-old child was running a 103.5-degree fever.

on default as is their wont – but I digress. You can probably be forced to disclose your key (Bitcoin, not ignition) if you’re charged with money laundering or terrorism, and you aren’t going to tell me if you are. What have you told the Feds? (See BoucherFricosu and Doe on Fifth Amendment privilege in these cases.) My advice to you, at least if you are white, is either to get a lawyer, take them down to the nearest police station and tell them a plausible story or to change your identity.


This by DadaDoggyDannyKozakSaxfn has already gathered 24 reads and 2 likes. The author encourages honest critique, whatever that is – which is more than one could say of many poets.

ORNETTE (1930-2015)

The ever’dread moment

to    hear    the   radio

say one of the ‘Great Immortals’


quite mortal indeed /  passing away /

~ Goodnight Mr. Coleman ~


Well, there’s been quite a lot already, but here, from ‘new Arabic supergroup Alif”s debut album Aynama-Rtama is the track Holako (Hulagu), referring to the Mongol conqueror’s defeat at the battle of Ayn Jalut, near the present-day Palestinian city of Jenin.









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