Ornette COLEMAN – Love Call 1968

Ornette COLEMAN – Love Call 1968
2000 Issue.


“Love Call” comes from the same 1968 Blue Note sessions that brought us “New York Is Now.” Dewey Redman’s smoky, blurry tenor plays off of Ornette’s incisive alto; and Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones (Coltrane’s rhythm unit of choice) supply the bass and drums for this piano-less quartet.

The tunes are unique, of course–bizarrely catchy, childlike, and strangely harmonized. They all convey an eerie optimism. The compositions follow the tried and true bebop format of head (statement of melody), solos, head. But unlike bebop, the harmonic underpinning is removed, leaving the musicians free to concentrate on melodies and shifting grooves.

Ornette is a master of digression. It sounds like his own melodic fragments are pulling him all over the place. But he and his colleagues are so steeped in the tradition that the grooves never falter. In “Airborne,” the band plays two or three tempi at once, but the overall effect is unified. Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison and Ornette are magical together, and when Dewey Redman comes in, getting air and dirt out of his horn, the sound seems to widen exponentially. His solo is a smudgy masterpiece of implication, and Jones and Garrison follow him every step of the way, hearing the notes through the noise.
The other half of the New York Is Now session, which is, in a sense, ridiculous. Blue Note issued two records when they really had one. There were two dates, April 29 and May 7, 1968. Half the tunes from this volume and half from New York Is Now were recorded at each session. The CD versions contain all of the alternate takes and unreleased cuts of both days. Here, Coleman with Dewey Redman and the rhythm section of Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison work through Coleman’s melodic conceptions and harmonic constructs on five numbers, with alternate takes making up two more. Coleman plays alto on four tunes and trumpet on three — better than violin. “Airborne” is the most successful thing here in that Coleman’s music matches the rhythm section’s energy for the only time on the session. Redman’s tenor solo is one of the most bleating and emotionally intense of his career, careening across microphonics as he flats fifths and screeches through a series of arpeggios that cause Coleman to begin his solo at 60 mph at the very top of a scale and cruise through six or seven melodic variations on its theme before bringing it back down. Meanwhile, Elvin barely breaks a sweat and Garrison creates such a taut harmonic template for Coleman and Redman, they have to stretch. The title track is perhaps Coleman’s finest moment on the trumpet; he spatters his notes in such a way that across the B-flat diminished nine scalar invention, he picks up all the tonal qualities in the color palette and chromatically orders them in such a way that it sets up Redman with a prime opportunity to alter the melody of the tune one note at a time. Also, the bluesy theme in “Check out Time,” with its echoes of Thelonious Monk’s “Blue Monk,” is a nice touch, but it should have opened or closed the album.
By Thom Jurek, All Music Guide.
I believe the main lesson being taught by Ornette to the world has nothing to do with his “Harmolodic approach”. The thing we learn from Coleman is to be ourselves. Here he uses Coltrane’s rhythm section, but does not even remotely sound like anything but himself – starting a tune with a short riff, in unison with the tenor of Dewey Redman, then diving into an extended improvisation – playing with few limitations but with pefect control.
The two versions of “Check out time” are an example to Coleman’s truly free approach. The opening riff is basically identical, but where on the first version Coleman enters with bursting energy, on the second version the opening is followed by a Redman’s long notes over a slowing rhythm. This gives the rest of the piece a whole different feel.
On the Love Call versions Ornette plays trumpet and violin. While I prefer his alto playing, it is good to hear him explore the different sounds and possibilities.
That’s Ornette. His mind is always working, unbound by anything other than his own musical sensibilities. He knows his African American tradition – but is not limited by it or any other tradition. It is not easy for a musician to stray from a tradition – it is much easier to stay in the cozy confinements of an existing style/tradition. But the strong survive – as Coleman has.
By Nadav Haber.
With his milestone recordings of the late fifties Ornette opened the gate to a whole new world which is still being explored today as it will be tomorrow. While the original quartet with its Atlantic output is rightly regarded as his most important achievement, these two albums rank among his most successful and accessible work, as uncompromising as they are.The pieces contained in here are mostly simple, riff-based fragments, a basis for improvisation. But the “Broadway Blues” on the accompanying “New York Is Now”-CD is a fine example of Ornette the tunesmith. Writing an easy melodic line is often underrated or disregarded. But Ornette has always been a composer with the very rare ability to put it brief and,even more,to fill a lot of music into his pieces. These two CDs once more lay proof to the fact that his music is, besides all other qualities, lasting,i.e.it’ll never get dated. One reason is, I suppose, evident here: Ornette knows his roots and is the born leader – giving his colleagues ample space to develop their own ideas and to contribute to the music in a vital way and yet making them to play HIS music. All musicians on these albums are in fine form and play with inspiration.Dewey displays his embodied tenor tone very pleasingly, Jimmy Garrison’s bass supports and solos simultaneously and giant drummer Elvin Jones is a category of himself.I’d say that Ornette rarely played with so much power as when driven by Elvin.And despite this line-up no allusions to Trane creep up and go way into the music. Shortly after John Coltrane’s death, a rather unexpected atmosphere. If simple were easy, why are there so few successors? The album covers are quite good too!
By Dennis.
One of the two quartet sessions that Ornette cut for Blue Note in the late 60s – and tight mature work like the New York Is Now sides, recorded in the company of Dewey Redman and the Coltrane rhythm section of Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones, which offers a contrasting perspective to most of the preceding Coleman groups. Ornette plays alto and trumpet, as he was doing around that time, and Redman’s playing is amongst his finest on record. Four tunes the title track, “Airborne”, “Check Out Time”, and “Open To The Public”.
Jimmy Garrison- Bass
Ornette Coleman- Violin, Alto,Soprano Sax
Elvin Jones- Drums, Snare Drums
Dewey Redman- Tenor Sax
01. Airborne 10:30
02. Check Out Time 8:22
03. Check Out Time (Alternate) 7:57
04. Open To The Public 8:05
05. Love Call 8:45
06. Love Call (Alternate) 5:31
07. Just For You 4:13

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