ORNETTE COLEMAN / “Lonely Woman”

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7 Responses to “ORNETTE COLEMAN / “Lonely Woman””

Rudy Says:
January 9th, 2006 at 12:48 am

I always find Kalamu profound. If he says something I usually allow that it’s true. Musically, I’m stupid. I know nothing of the technical aspect of music, not even the basics of melody, harmony, and rhythm.

I am familiar with Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler, the Art Ensemble of Chicago and free jazz. I think Ornette used a plastic horn. I don’t know, I don’t recall what effect that was supposed to have on the tonal quality of the music. I haven’t played my lps in decades and its been years since I read Downbeat. . . .

But I like that metaphor of preaching over the groove. I can see that coming out of the negro’s folk music–the spirituals and the blues. I still don’t quite understand how all of that relate to an African aesthetic.

In any event I’m enjoying the music. Most of it l seems rather seamless. And that’s good — Rudy

D Thompson Says:
January 9th, 2006 at 11:37 pm

Loved Titilayo’s music and the NPR review. Do you know if she is still performing?


          kalamu says       

unfortunately, i don’t know, but i certainly hope so.


Qawi Says:
January 10th, 2006 at 12:30 pm

Preaching over the groove…How Profound! “Embellish on the Cut” is how Tribe Called Quest (HipHop) called it. I say this because not since the JAZZ history special that was on PBS years back, did us new cats get exposure to what Ornette Coleman was doing. For the time that he was doing it, they called it Avant Garde Jazz. Now the nomeclature is Free Jazz. The Avant Garde term is more fitting of Ornette, because one would assume that Jazz is FREE (as in expression).

Dizzy, Miles, and several other accomplished jazz musicians didn’t call it Avant Garde, or Free. They called it MESS. I believe one of the quotes from the special was that you could’ve given “drunks” instruments and the sound would come out better than Ornette Coleman.

Which brings me to the selection. If anything, “Lonely Woman” was a SAFE choice Kalamu. I mean, if you really wanted to capture the often chaotic arrangements of Ornette Coleman, there is literally a pleathora of tracks. Tracks like Song X, where if you didn’t have a trained ear, the song would literally drive you mad! I like Lonely Woman because it really just sounds like a sax solo/embellishment over a consistent baseline and drums, though. It actually does give me another almost melodic appreciation for Ornette Coleman’s music.

Ms. Berry Says:
January 11th, 2006 at 9:57 am

Technically, I am probably not educated enough in music but I can say that this song hauntingly articulates the emotions associated with the title.

Thank you for introducing Titilayo. That girl has a voice on her!

AumRa Says:
January 11th, 2006 at 2:25 pm

Together with Don Cherry, Charlie Hayden and Billy Higgins, Ornette peeped where this thing called jazz was headed. The Shape of Jazz to Come and, ultimately, the harmolodic approach is the logical conclusion of a consciousness unbound by man-made constraints yet somehow still manages to remain rooted in tradition This music has universal swing.

Whereas the swing of Sun Ra’s insight proceeds from a , lets say, ‘behind the sun’ kind of circumspection, allowing the listener to experience the music of planets revolving, Ornette seems to share that perspective however the cycle of progression proceeds from inside the performers(s) experience and expands outward in concentric circles until the music trascends the sonic realm enveloping both performer and listner in emotional communion. While both ultimately expand sonic awareness, one goes from plan to planet and the other goes from earth experience and proceeds to cosmic consciousness – pretty much the same thing albeit two different approaches.

With gems like Focus on Sanity and Congeniality having become part of the standard jazz lexicon, the piece that seems to stay with everyone is Lonely Woman. I cannot say for certain Ornette’s motivation for composing this song but Lonely Woman has been dancing in the heads of many men ever since it was released in 1959.

When listening and considering the the intent of the piece I wonder if a conversation with a lonely woman would be as eloquent as Ornette’s alto, as sexy or possess a voice as melliflous? Would her stroll be as rhythmic as Billy’s bounce, filling spaces in my head while creating voids in my imagination as I try to count the ways in which her polyrhythmic saunter has redefined time and made me temporarily redefine logic? Would I have the ability and awareness to realize that the basis of her existence is the tonic nourishing the foundation upon which the continuity of soul depends? Would I be ready, at a moments notice, to develope both the strength od character and the selflessness of ego to lead her in dance and/or trumpet her strength as she sings her song? Ornette’s interpretation is one man’s sympathetic glimpse into the pathos that sometimes descends upon us all; a snap shot of this chaotic life frozen in song.

The composer alludes that this energy is feminine in nature The song, Lonely Woman, also reveals the aspect of Ornettes person accessed when conceiving, composing and performing this tune. The creative aspect of the person, also responsible for harmonizing forms and ideas is also depicted as being feminine in nature.

Ali Farka Toure, the master guitar and multi-string instrumentalist from West Africa, acknowledges that the essential blues form has been played in Mali for centuries. That being so Ornette, through harmolodics , has added a valuable dialect to the language of the blues. Ornette tapped into an age-old tradition with new modes of conveying experience. The way I hear it, Ornette – through his theory – seeks to reveal the underlying unity hidden in chaos; much the same way a good sociologist would do writing of the role of women in society.

Ornette challenges musicians and listeners to realize the rhythmic and melodic equivalent inherent in the underlying structure of the song form. It is the reaffirmation of achieving a personal experience from music and that requires something from all parties involved.

Ornette has a unique way of expanding one’s sonic palate and thereby uncovers hidden nuances not only in the song but in our emotional references as well. This is not so much a shift in paradigm as much as it is mostly an appendage that expands the approach to composing, improvising and accompaning as harmolodics is also a method of giving equal weight to both rhythm and melody.

Play it again.

Allen Hicks Says:
February 15th, 2006 at 4:32 pm

Enjoyed your exposition and I espcially liked the weave to Titilayo Ngwenya. I have seen her perform in so many Boston venues. She is a great improviser, and her voice is sexy with a personality.

googly Says:
September 4th, 2015 at 9:02 pm

I think that what you posted made a bunch of sense.
But, what about this? what if you wrote a catchier post title?
I am not saying your content isn’t solid., however suppose you
added something to maybe get folk’s attention? I mean breath
of life ORNETTE COLEMAN / Lonely Woman is a little plain. You should peek at Yahoo’s front
page and see how they write news headlines to get viewers interested.

You might try adding a video or a pic or two to get people excited about what you’ve
got to say. In my opinion, it would make your blog a little bit more interesting.

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