Those who heard Ornette Colemen in concert will die clutching the memory deep in their hearts. The great tide of warmth flooding from the stage exposed the old taunts that he was “untutored” or “played sharp” for the detritus they were. His revolutionary approach was meticulously conceived long before people began taking him seriously – but then the greatest revolutionaries remain eternally revolutionary. In a year in which Melbourne saxophonist Adam Simmons is releasing a slew of albums comes this one from his Origami trio playing Coleman compositions and a couple of originals.
Its rampant success is not just due to the deep understanding of the tunes that Simmons shares with bassist Howard Cairns, drummer Hugh Harvey and, on some tracks, his young drumming son, Noah. It comes from a complete grasp of intent: of making joy and jauntiness dance together until they whirl into a state of elation. The corollary is being able to balance this by bringing to life Coleman’s Lonely Woman, one of last century’s greatest artworks; to make the sadness course through her until her eyes crack with tears. Another of the new albums, Travelling Tales (using a 20-piece orchestra), is as monumental as Ornette is quicksilver.