still the shape of jazz to come

With the Mets having secured the NL East pennant – and with a subway series in the offing where the plucky Mets sweep the hegemonic Yankees in four raucous games – I may have temporarily acquired a new go-to page in the paper. It seems a little too dark altogether to just plunge right into one’s morning update on the learned debate as to precisely which species of enforced organ failure constitutes torture, so for now I’m starting with the Arts section, a decision which this morning yielded considerable dividends. Ornette Coleman:


We listened to “Cheryl,” a Parker quintet track from 1947. “I was drawn to the way Charlie Parker phrased his ideas,” he said. “It sounded more like he was composing, and I really loved that. Then, when I found out that the minor seventh and the major seventh was the structure of bebop music — well, it’s a sequence. It’s the art of sequences. I kind of felt, like, I got to get out of this.”

He talks a lot about sequences. (John Coltrane, he said, was a good saxophone player who was lost to them.) With regard to his Parker worship, he kept the phrasing but got rid of the sequences. “I first tried to ban all chords,” he said, “and just make music an idea, instead of a set pattern to know where you are.”

Times article


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