Chris Kelsey  & Lewis Porter | Free: Kelsey/Porter Duo Plays Ornette, Vol. 1

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Keith Jarrett Ornette Coleman

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Jazz: Avant-Garde Jazz Avant Garde: Avant-Americana Moods: Instrumental
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Free: Kelsey/Porter Duo Plays Ornette, Vol. 1

by Chris Kelsey & Lewis Porter

Saxophonist Kelsey and pianist Porter interpret ten seldom-covered tunes composed by one of the most influential musical artists of our time, the great Ornette Coleman.
Genre: Jazz: Avant-Garde Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Music Always
Chris Kelsey & Lewis Porter
5:52 $0.99
2. Brings Goodness
Chris Kelsey & Lewis Porter
7:10 $0.99
3. Free
Chris Kelsey & Lewis Porter
8:52 $0.99
4. Cross Breeding
Chris Kelsey & Lewis Porter
7:01 $0.99
5. Giggin'
Chris Kelsey & Lewis Porter
8:57 $0.99
6. Check Out Time
Chris Kelsey & Lewis Porter
6:23 $0.99
7. Face of the Bass
Chris Kelsey & Lewis Porter
5:16 $0.99
8. Airborne
Chris Kelsey & Lewis Porter
5:24 $0.99
9. Harlem's Manhattan
Chris Kelsey & Lewis Porter
6:27 $0.99
10. Forerunner
Chris Kelsey & Lewis Porter
6:09 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
I came to the music of Ornette Coleman relatively late, having spent most my initial development investigating the avant garde from a Coltrane-centric perspective. I was in my 30s before I started dealing with Ornette, at which point he joined - and in a sense, if I’m to be honest, supplanted - Trane as my central inspiration. Over the last 15 years, no musician has been more important to me. To date I’ve transcribed upwards of 80 of his compositions. This has added greatly to my pool of compositional resources and my understanding of Ornette’s work. It’s also been great fun.

Of course, it wouldn’t be quite as much fun if I didn’t have such an ideal partner with whom to play them. I’d be hard-pressed to find a pianist who possesses a greater natural affinity for this music than Lewis Porter. Apart from his brilliance as a pianist, what makes Lew uniquely suited to delve so deeply and convincingly into Ornette’s work is his extraordinary empathy as an improviser and as a person - a quality that I’m not the first to suggest defines Mr. Coleman’s entire oeuvre … and life, for that matter. In fact, it’s the extra-musical connection I feel with both Lewis and Ornette’s conception that I think makes these performances special. They breathe, they sweat, they laugh and cry. They are by nature imperfect, as must any creation that depends so heavily on contingency, impulse, mood, and spontaneity. They were recorded not in a studio, but onstage in an empty auditorium using minimal means. The rawness of this music stems from one of the most important lessons to be gleaned from Mr. Coleman’s example, to wit:

Jazz’s folk roots grow deep. They have always been essential to the most affecting and lasting works in the idiom. They are ignored or neglected or polished to a sheen at one’s peril.

Lewis and Ornette have been friends for 30 years. Three days after we recorded this album, Lew took me to Ornette’s place for a visit. It’s nice to discover that I’m still susceptible to transformative experiences. Ornette was as kind and charming as I had imagined he would be. We talked and played - yes, played! - for the better part of two hours. (I played with Ornette Coleman; I still have trouble wrapping my head around that.) I don’t think it would be betraying a confidence to say that Ornette was very positive about my playing, which validates the musical direction I’ve taken like few other things can. It’s amazing what the imprimatur of one’s idol can do for one’s confidence. As if I didn’t owe him enough.

Chris Kelsey
Pawling, NY
April 20, 2015

I met Ornette at Brandeis University when he was getting an award in the spring of 1985. We had lunch together, and then I performed with students in front of a packed audience while Ornette ran us through some of his effective and logically designed workshop exercises. We hit it off that day. Later on, Ornette gave me his address and phone number and said, as only he would, "Come by anytime – even if I'm not home!"

I love Ornette as a person, as well as his music of course, so you can imagine that I was delighted when Chris suggested that we record some of his music. Chris is a true original and it's great to make music with him. We always have a great hang too! I hope you enjoy this first installment of our take on Ornette's music.

Lewis Porter
New York City
April 21, 2015



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