Ornette Coleman, Town Hall 1962

Andy Battaglia

By Andy Battaglia

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Town Hall 1962

Ornette Coleman
The great stylistic remaker caught on a good night with a tight rhythm section.

Recorded shortly after a flurry of activity marked by such landmarks as The Shape of Jazz to Come and Free Jazz, this live album pushes Ornette Coleman's strangled saxophone front and center. Playing in a shorn trio setting, Coleman stretches out and loiters by turns, focusing on singular lines more than chaotic instrumental interplay. "Doughnut" opens in the middle of something already happening, with Coleman's tenor high and tight over Charles Moffett's restless drums and moody bass (plucked, bowed, scraped and more) by David Izenson. The tone shifts down in "Sadness," an elegy in which Izenson broods through sounds his instrument wouldn't seem equipped to make. "Dedication to Poets and Writers" translates Coleman's hectic melodies for string quartet, while a long take on "The Ark" smears a blur of bebop into wide open spaces. Coleman sounds exhilarating throughout: strange, disoriented, a little sour — he plays figures that address the ear from angles somewhere out of view.