Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ornette Coleman

The Earshot Jazz Fest brings the classic film Ornette: Made in America to the NW Film Forum for 4 screenings this Friday and Saturday. 'Ornette' is a hazy but inviting glimpse of the great modern jazz musician and his world. The film maker Shirley Clarke was one of the key figures of the American independent film movement, and for her final film Clarke created a highly unusual music documentary featuring the legendary Ornette Coleman, a toweringly innovative yet humble figure.

The film follows Mr. Coleman rather randomly through time and space, jumping from Morocco in 1973 to Berkeley in 1969, then back to Italy in 1980. Coleman's music weaves through a series of interviews with personalities as varied as Buckminster Fuller, William Burroughs, and Coleman's son Denardo. Meanwhile, all manner images occasionally flash on and off the screen, and a small boy impersonates the lonely young Ornette outside the house where he spent his childhood. It's a bizarre film, but an truly entertaining one, and Coleman is a figure well worth spending more time with in whatever form. Four showings only, at 7 and 9 pm on October 29 & 30.

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