Ornette Coleman had such an impact on my life as a saxophonist and composer. When he died last month I revisited his recordings, my memories of hearing him perform live and my experiences playing his music (mostly during ECFA’s ‘repertory’ phase–thanks Carl Smith!). That’s when I realized I’d never tried an Ornette tune on banjo.
This is a version of “Lonely Woman” from The Shape of Jazz to Come for clawhammer banjo. I chose this tune, in part, because Charlie Haden’s iconic pedal-point bass line suggested the drone string on a banjo. I bought this album as a freshman in college and remember listening to it again and again until the sheer mystery and befuddlement and out-of-tuneness of the songs gave way to familiarity, love and (hopefully) some understanding of how and why they work.
I’ve posted previously about Josh Ronsen’s newly launched Austinnitus Audio Series. He’s recently added some great new audio including sounds from Alex Keller, Doug Ferguson, Thomas Fang and an incarnation of E.C.F.A sans myself. I’m particularly fond of the Gates Ensemble recording from a 2003 appearance at the Church of the Friendly Ghost that’s now online. Listen to it below.