At the Castle Ansbach residence in Germany, 1978, the great Ornette Coleman gathered an all-star sextet for a destabilizing and utterly spellbinding performance. Coleman was an artist on a constant self-discovery mission. He switched groups often, with his acoustic jazz roots in the 50s giving way to electric, funk-tinged outfits in the 70s and 80s. Here, we see a mix of the two, with Ben Nix and the famous James Blood Ulmer on electric guitars, a rhythm section comprised of Fred Williams on the double bass while Ronald Shannon Jackson and Denardo Coleman (Ornette's son) share drumming duties. For his part, Ornette leads the charge on saxophone as well as violin.
More than track titles, more than melodies, it is the energy on display that impacts the listener. Always in flux, the force of Coleman's sound was unpredictable and constantly moving, just like the workings of the mind and the expansion of the universe itself. With free jazz like this, the devil is in the detail and experts are able to focus on tiny elements to decipher its genius. For the rest of us, it suffices to sit back and let the music sweep over us, harboring energies and emotional soundscapes that are hypnotic and transportive – shedding, in the best case, new light on everything that surrounds us.