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Ornette and Ornate

November 16th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

Got time to squeeze off a quick one here this week. Normally I got time to dawdle about on Fridays and get the gospel of the GI pounded from the pulpit of my iMac, but not today. That’s ok! Cause what I got to say about our landmark music doc film about a landmark musician, well, it came easy to me.

If you know anything about 20th century jazz beyond Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong, you know about my boy Ornette. An absolute genius composer/performer, he comes across in the film as just the sort of thoughtful, introspective sort of man who’d have the sort of headspace to come up with these killer jams. The film starts and ends with symphonic accompaniment in his hometown of Fort Worth, TX. The moans and strains of the orchestra juxtapose brilliantly to Ornette’s band “Prime Time.”

this man can make the saxophone do things undreamt of

Having spent a great deal of time at concerts and having watched more than a few music docs/concert films, I was struck by how many of my own favorites took a note from this film in style and presentation. It feels like equal emphasis is placed on music and musician, time and place, like some of my favorites: Sigur Ros’ “Heima” and Wilco’s “Ashes of American Flags.”

Ornette’s music continues near unabated throughout the film, and there is achieved a stream-of-consciousness poetic flow (notably Burroughs is present in the film) with intertitles spliced in via a mass transit ticker sign. Everything is in motion in this film, even talking heads are cross cut in rapid succession. Those sensitive to seizure beware! At least you can close your eyes and surrender yourself to Ornette’s music.

It’s a new print for goshsakes! Come and be counted among those in the know, come see the show! Witness a true marriage of experimental filmmaking to experimental music, in glorious 35mm.

—Ornette: more outlandish prog than even Mars Volta?, dan


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