No tags :(

Ornette Coleman • Part 4 of a 4 Part Series

Originally broadcast on Hornby Island Radio

Ornette Alto



Part 4 presents the orchestral and composed music of Ornette Coleman  featuring Chappaqua Suite, Nathan Goldstein’s String Quartet, The Virtuoso Ensemble, The Chamber Symphony Of Philadelphia Quartet, and the London Symphony Orchestra.




Hornby Island Radio [CHFR-FM 96.5]

In May 1989
me and mate, guitarist, Arthur Bull were invited to participate in Tom Durrie’s spring festival here on Hornby Island. Being an urbanite, accustomed to the attitudes prevalent in the city, I was overwhelmed by the island; by the community openness, the friendly acceptance. The tour ended in Vancouver, and at the celebration of its success, Arthur said: “I guess you are not returning to Toronto”, already noticing a difference in my outlook. A year or so later I became an islander and within days of my arrival, a young man approached me in the Ringside: “I hear that you are a saxophone player — wanna come and jam at Joe King clubhouse on Thursday.” My introduction to the music community.

Over the ensuing years I have been privileged to play with a number of them, and have been constantly amazed that such a small population could contain so many artistic people. Hornby it turns out is resplendent with talented artists of all disciplines, the island either being an attractor to folks of artistic persuasion or the very spirit of the island itself an inspiration. Among this active group there are a few that are afforded a national, or in some cases an international reputation.

The entrance to the park is a triangular mound accentuated by three trees: a fir, a cedar and an alder, whose forked twin path leads to a large open space and a pavilion of sorts: the headquarters of the Hornby Island Athletic Association, home to the Eagles baseball team, where my musical adventures began. I call it a pavilion for want of a better description, and although not of the grandeur of Lords where the English Test matches take place every summer, with its elite members’ enclosure filled with the cricket aristocrats garbed out in their summer finery, sipping at gin and tonic, Joe King does have a veranda looking out onto a baseball field.

Its perimeter is an eight foot high fence of hand-painted hoardings publicising a cluster of builders, painters and their suppliers, two splendid cartoon backhoes, the services of the Ford Cove marina, a film-maker, a blacksmith banging on an anvil, a bakery that claims it has pizzas galore, a dentist assuring good-for-life dental health, and a Co-op store. The centre-piece of the fence is a billboard for the Thatch Pub that promises a free jug of beer if a batter can hit a home-run ball 240 yards though the hole in the catchers glove. An unachievable feat.

In 2004 a number of enthusiasts decided the island needed a radio station. Over the years there has been a number of neighbourhood “pirate” stations operating on the island. This was the first “serious” attempt at anything close to official.

Currently CHFR is 100% volunteer run and operated. The Hornby Community Radio Society has an active board of directors and a large number of volunteers and has developed an organisational structure to provide Hornby Island with a diverse selection of programming. CHFR operates on a daily basis, 16 hours a day, seven days a week.

The station is housed in a modest 500 square foot building nestled on the edge of the forest, just inside the entrance to the ballpark, where I’ve spent many hours broadcasting a wide range of music. These four posts celebrating the music of Ornette Coleman have been my latest contributions. Amazing when you realise that it all happens on an annual budget of less than $4,000, and with a minimum of fuss – while meeting the national standards of the CRTC [Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission] and Industry Canada.

Encore presentations of my radio shows can be heard at: http://rantanddawdle.ca/category/on-the-radio/

End Notes:

Town Hall LP

Dedication To Poets And Writers
Nathan Goldstein’s String Quartet
Town Hall, 1962 [ESP 1006] is the first recording featuring at its heart Ornette’s new trio [David Izenzon [bass] and Charles Moffett [drums]. The album provides partial documentation of a concert featuring several ensembles which had been organised and promoted by Coleman himself, in his search for artistic and economic independence. Even though the concert would be followed by two years of absence from public performance and recording, it is indicative of the direction which Coleman’s music would take on his return in 1965, with the core trio and the introduction of string instrument textures.

chappaqua jacket

Chappaqua Suite [
Columbia 66203] was recorded in June 1965. Originally commissioned by actor/director Conrad Rooks as the soundtrack to his film Chappaqua. The music was not used in the released version of the film. Rooks decided upon hearing Coleman’s music that he found it was so beautiful that he feared it would overpower the imagery and action of the film. Instead, Columbia Records released it as a double album.

Chappaqua Suite was Coleman’s first studio recording with the trio featuring David Izenzon and Charles Moffett. It was also his first recording with a full orchestra, a studio orchestra arranged and conducted by cellist Joseph Tekula.

An Evening With OC

Sounds and Forms for Wind Quintet
The Virtuoso Ensemble: Edward Walker (flute) Derek Wickers (oboe) John Burden (English horn) Cecil James (bassoon) Sidney Fell (clarinet) Ornette Coleman (supervisor) • Croydon, London, England, August 29, 1965
An Evening With Ornette Coleman [Freedom TKCB-70320]

Ornette’s first gig outside the USA at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls was a triumph over the restrictive labour laws that had prevented many American jazz bands from booking shows in Britain. He entered the country as a tourist, composed a wind quintet to qualify as a classical musician, ignored union threats to blacklist anyone who performed with him, and played a typically passionate, improvised set that once again divided onlookers.

Skies of America Jacket

Skies of America [
Columbia KC 31562]
Ornette Coleman with the London Symphony Orchestra, David Measham (conductor) London, England, May, 1972.




Photograph Ornette Coleman by William E. (Bill) Smith

Comments can be sent to: classicimprov@yahoo.ca