I was watching a Jazz documentary. Ornette Coleman, 82 on March 9, was being interviewed. They asked him about musical chronologies and the development of Jazz. Coleman – peeking quizzically from beneath his porkpie hat – paused for a moment before answering, “I don’t really care about the past, or the present, or the future …” he said, “that’s not what I want to major in – I want to major in eternity.”
The critic David Was called Coleman ‘the Samuel Beckett of Jazz’. I’m not sure what he meant, he is an acquired taste perhaps, and certainly laconic – “Is life a sound?” he asked once. When he was younger he didn’t recognise a difference between learning and playing. You just did it. He thought himself how to play, “It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something.”
Frankie, a much younger genius, is one year old today.