Ornette Coleman

Record review

Texas Platters

Ornette Coleman

Sound Grammar (Phase Text)

While Texas jazz legend Ornette Coleman has mellowed considerably over the decades, it's a sign of how the times have finally caught up with his visionary, harmolodic approach to improvising when you realize how relatively accessible his music has become. It wasn't always this way for the iconoclastic, Fort Worth-born alto saxophonist who touched off a music revolution when he brought his astringent-free jazz to NYC in 1959. Almost a half century later, what's immediately apparent is the joyful, melodic, and songlike quality of the soaring horn lines Coleman suffuses Sound Grammar with from its first notes. His playing retains the rich blues feel and gospel intonations derived from the 76-year-old's formative years on the Lone Star R&B circuit. This live date, recorded last fall in Germany with the same double-bass quartet that enthralled Bass Concert Hall in 2004, brings it all back home, particularly on the bluesy "Turnaround," which dates way back to his second album, Tomorrow Is the Question! Of the remaining tunes, the title track from his acclaimed 1985 project with guitarist Pat Metheny, Song X, and the feverish Latin trill of "Matador" are the most memorable. While dabbling with the trumpet and violin for color, at the end of the day, Sound Grammar is all about Ornette Coleman and his horn, and they both are a pleasure to behold.

***.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Fall Platters
Jeff Lofton
Jericho (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Nov. 29, 2019

Texas Platters
Golden Dawn Arkestra
Darkness Falls on the Edge of Time (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Sept. 20, 2019

More by Jay Trachtenberg
What We’re Listening to This Week
What We’re Listening to This Week
Angela Strehli, Quentin Arispe, and an improvisation supergroup

Nov. 11, 2022

The Gathering Storm: Robert Draper on the Post-Reality GOP
The Gathering Storm: Robert Draper on the Post-Reality GOP
NYT writer and former Austinite sees a dark future in his new book, Weapons of Mass Delusion

Nov. 4, 2022

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle