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Ornette Coleman was one of the jazz iconoclasts who rose to fame
in the late 1950’s. He was most famous for playing what came to be
known as “free jazz” or “the new thing.” His influence extended to
such jazz greats as John Coltrane, and Coleman was perhaps the
most well known participant in the avant-garde jazz scene. This disc
contains two films: “Ornette Coleman Trio: David, Moffett & Ornette –
Paris 1966,” and “Roland Kirk: Sound??” You should note that some
retailers combine these titles, and list the DVD as “Ornette Coleman
Trio: Sound?? Featuring Roland Kirk and John Cage.”

In the first film, “Ornette Coleman Trio: David, Moffett & Ornette –
Paris 1966,” there is a glimpse of Coleman’s playing style and philosophy.
I’m saying a “glimpse,” because this 28-minute film contains an equal
amount of footage of musician interviews and performances. The main
purpose of this gig, shot in a “documentary” style, is to provide
background music for the Belgian film entitled, “Who’s Crazy?”

Apparently, bass player David Izenzon was a former member of the
NBC Symphony Orchestra. He and the drummer, Charles Moffett, are
given equal time to espouse their philosophies of music and playing
with Coleman. Although Ornette Coleman is primarily known as an alto
saxophonist, he is also featured here playing (if you want to call it that) the
violin, trumpet and piano. The collective music played by this trio is in
the signature, “free-form” style that was popularized by Ornette Coleman.

The other half of this 53-minute DVD on the EFORFILMS label is devoted
to what can best be described as a “stream-of-consciousness,” 27-minute
film entitled, “Sound??” It features multi-reed man, Roland Kirk, interspersed
with speculations on the nature of silence and sound by composer
John Cage. Kirk plays at Ronnie Scott’s in London and various other venues,
including a zoo, where he jams on the flute with backup from the resident
coyotes. I’m not making this up!

Roland Kirk is often featured playing two or three instruments at the
same time, which is one of his claims to fame. Throughout this short film,
the aforementioned John Cage pops up like a recurring “visual leitmotiv,”
spewing forth his views. Stylistically, the music on this second film from
1967 is rather avant-garde as well, making this DVD a sort of “1960’s
mind trip.”

These films were shot entirely in black and white, and I found “Ornette
Coleman Trio: David, Moffett & Ornette – Paris 1966” and “Roland Kirk:
Sound??” to be interesting excursions.  However, I wish that there was
more footage of actual playing on them. By the way, the sound was only
“so-so,” but by no means intolerable.