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Friday, Dec. 14, 2007


Ornette hits Blue Note Tokyo's spot

Special to The Japan Times

The Ornette Coleman Trio, "At The Golden Circle, Stockholm, Vol. 1 & 2" (EMI Music Japan)

From classical music to hip-hop, alto saxophonist and composer Ornette Coleman continues to have a profound influence on music and culture. Since introducing himself to the world with "The Shape Of Jazz to Come" (1959), he's been at the cutting edge with every step, from his free-funk experiments on the "Dancing In Your Head" album to leading the "double quartet" Prime Time. This year, he won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and, though aged 77, he continues to earn the support of record buyers, live audiences and fellow musicians.

"At The Golden Circle" was recorded live at the Stockholm jazz club of the same name in 1965 when Coleman was 35 years old, with David Izenzon on bass and Charles Moffett on drums. With its sublime playing and timeless sleeve design (on the cover, the trio are clad in trench coats and hats against a snowy Stockholm backdrop) came to be one of the Blue Note label's representative LPs.

Having disappeared for three years from the winter of 1962, "At The Golden Circle" saw a resurrected Coleman give a new twist to his and his trio's playing — beautiful, free, heavy, primitive.

Three decades on, and happily the album itself has been brought back to life, remastered by legendary recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder (who went on to engineer albums for The Impulse, CTI and other labels). The performance and sound on this transcends its era and never fails to overpower me.

Miho Harasawa is the Public Relations Manager of Blue Note Tokyo live house.

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