Album of the Week: Friends and Neighbors – Ornette Coleman

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In 1970, free jazz experimentalist Ornette Coleman, hosted an Impromptu concert for his friends and neighbors at his loft on Prince St. in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The beginning of the concert opens with a chant:

“Friends and Neighbors, that’s where it’s at.

Friends and neighbors, that’s where it’s at.

Friends and neighbors, that’s a fact.

Hand in hand, that’s the goal. 

Hand in hand, that’s the goal.

All the world, small, small, small.”

What perfect words to reflect the spirit of communal music making. Ornette was physically bringing his friends and neighbors into his own space to bond and enjoy music together. His intentions were certainly heard. His art is certainly emotional.

The recordings, while imperfect, were finally mastered and released in 2013. They feature Ornette Coleman on alto sax, trumpet, and violin, Dewey Redman on tenor saxophone, Charlie Haden on bass and Ed Blackwell on drums. What a privilege to hear them collaborate.

This album reminds me to have more intentional interactions with physical people. I am sharing it with you all to spread that feeling!

When was the last time you brought your friends together intentionally? Was music involved? How can art improve our interactions? All this and more is being discussed on my Podcast Project Page! Would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for reading and listening!