JAZZ / Regeneration games: Phil Johnson on the Ornette Coleman Quartet at the RFH
Monday 08 November 1993
Perhaps he was registering a protest. Certainly, Moffett performed with a conventional virtuosity that was sometimes at odds with the slightly shambolic air of the usual Coleman small-group sound. A large man who can make the big bass fiddle look cello-sized, Moffett thumb-slapped it like a bass guitar, bowed and scraped as much as he plucked and even used a number of nifty pedals to add reverb and digital delay effects. When in one long solo he improvised against the recorded pulse of his own instrument, Moffett ended up leaving Coleman playing at a quarter of the volume of his bassist, jeopardising the delicate balance of the music. Drummer Denardo Coleman - Ornette's son - continually picked up Moffett's lead with reggae rimshots while Cherry coughed and wheezed through his horn as if attempting to bring the music back in time to its now 35-year-old beginnings.
Coleman carried on regardless, his every note filled with an unerring sense of himself and his music. When he soloed with trumpet and violin, the change of instrument was less noticeable than the remarkable similarity of approach he brings to everything he does.
Despite the occasional mismatch of old and young, the concert sometimes reached monumental peaks of collective improvisation. Coleman is perhaps the greatest intuitive musical genius of the century, distilling through the odd, skewed phrases of his plastic saxophone a joy, a delight and a humanity that must once have attended the notes of Paganini. The suit, needless to say, had a pretty good game too.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Kermit the Frog has a new girlfriend named Denise
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
JK Rowling announces Harry Potter's son is starting at Hogwarts
Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
Loose Women poll asking if rape is 'ever a woman's fault' sparks backlash
James Bond is a 'very lonely, sexist misogynist', says Daniel Craig
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be