Album Review

Coleman, Ornette – “Empty Foxhole, The” – [Blue Note]

Thurston Hunger   11/29/2013   12-inch, Jazz

Part of the recent KFJC pantheon of jazz picks, pulling
in old masters (1966 originally recorded; oddly and
somewhat worryingly this had KFJC Audition Copy on it
when Jazz Bartender Spliff Skankin’ recently found it
for sale at a store). Anyways, nice to have it back in
action, Bop jump start on “Good Ole Days” nice drumming
at the end playing off the perky melody. Bum Bum! Hey
stop the presses that’s Ornette’s son, when he was 10
years old! The title track starts off a little sluggish
and you feel “Denny” as a 10-year old, but the sweet
and forlorn trumpet from his Dad draws your focus for
the most part. Another proud musical Dad, Charlie
Haden rounds out the trio here, on the upright bass.
Ornette saws on his violin for “Sound Gravitation”,
unlike whoever wrote on this old vinyl copy, I *love*
violin in jazz, and this piece is the most challenging
(and rewarding) number on the album. Tense cliff hanger
ending on that. “Freeway Express” has got three lanes
free and open, and Denardo is killing it while Dad’s
trumpet is tight to start, and then the mute tucks in
and it gets even tighter. Haden motoring, not merely
walking, on the bass in his own lane. “Faithful” puts
the brakes on, and Ornette back on alto, delivering
a gentle bluesy tune for 5 minutes, the Haden starts
to push some rumble strumble bass but Ornette returns
with the wistful melody to close it. The last track
“Zig Zag” another alto and a toe-tapper, with Ornette
cross-stepping some scales before a few slightly
skronky runs but it ends up in place that will put a
smile on faces from ages 10 to 100.

-Thurston Hunger

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