Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ornette Coleman: Theme From A Symphony (Variation Two)

The Tanuki likes grooves. He prefers polyrhythms to the one, though - the Meters rather than James Brown. And the other day he stumbled into polyrhythm heaven. A track from Ornette Coleman's 1976 album Dancing In Your Head called "Theme From A Symphony (Variation Two)." You can listen to it here, among other places.

The Tanuki still hasn't quite figured out how to write about jazz. He's no musicologist, and he's no jazz expert. But he finds himself listening to jazz more and more lately, and good lord! Are you listening to that? That insane, almost annoying singsong riff, over and over, and then: gack, we're into the middle jam section. It's disorienting, like being shoved out of a plane without a parachute, but then before you realize it Prime Time have stepped up into the wickedest groove you've ever heard. This is truly pagan stuff, whites-of-the-eyes demons-dancing-around-the-bonfire bacchanale music, forcing your lower body to move even while your head wants to stand still and listen to what Ornette's laying down over the top of it all, while your heart wants to hang on the lip-biting chords the guitars are tucking into the pockets of the music. But you've barely had time to begin to make sense of it - or you've barely had time to begin to surrender to it, whichever you prefer - when they go back to the singsongy main riff, this time with the full force of the four-percussionist groove underneath. Then it ends.

Dancing in your head is right.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

"the Meters rather than James Brown"

I can dig it...will have to check out this album.