Search - Ornette Coleman :: Body Meta

Body Meta
Ornette Coleman
Body Meta
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #1

Culled from the same 1975 session which produced Ornette Coleman's lone A&M release, Dancing in Your Head, the music on Body Meta bears a striking resemblance to Captain Beefheart's Magic Band on Trout Mask Replica, whose ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Ornette Coleman
Title: Body Meta
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Polygram Records
Original Release Date: 1/1/1977
Re-Release Date: 9/24/1996
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B
Styles: Avant Garde & Free Jazz, Jazz Fusion, Funk
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 731453191624, 000008112347

Culled from the same 1975 session which produced Ornette Coleman's lone A&M release, Dancing in Your Head, the music on Body Meta bears a striking resemblance to Captain Beefheart's Magic Band on Trout Mask Replica, whose clashing guitars and ritualistic rhythms were an obvious corollary for Coleman's new band Prime Time. And while Coleman, like Beefheart, also maintained a tacit relationship to traditional rural blues (as on the Bo Diddley-styled changes of "Voice Poetry"), in truth, the raucous, parallel streams of rhythm, melodic counterpoint, and clashing chordal figures, as featured on "Home Grown" and "Macho Woman," more nearly resemble the collective fury of the Master Musicians of Joujouka than any rock or funk band you care to name. Still, electric bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson manage to imply traditional backbeats and melodic vamps without necessarily falling into any discernible grooves for too long, even as guitarists Bern Nix and Charles Ellerbee function as a mini-string section, feeding Coleman a continual stream of melodic echoes and harmonic juxtapositions. But for all the ensemble density, it is the clarion call of Coleman's alto saxophone that provides most of the interest on Body Meta. --Chip Stern

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CD Reviews

Harmolodic Electricity
happydogpotatohead | New Orleans, LA USA | 02/23/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"From the Bo Diddley-influenced "Voice Poetry" to "European Echoes," this is some brain-frizzling stuff. Even though Ornette uses electric guitar and electric bass here, this can't really be compared to the other "jazz fusion" that came out in the 70s. This is more personal and very individualistic. Where most fusion bands were trying to sound like John Coltrane gone electric, Prime Time and Ornette drew on basic rock/r&b forms here, and then bend them beyond recognition. If you're a big fan of acoustic jazz, chances are you won't like much here. However, if you have an open ear and are familiar with bands like Captain Beefheart and Pere Ubu, you will immediately click with this. Ornette sounds great here and it's fascinating to hear him playing over, under and around the electric guitars, bass and drums. On the liner notes Ornette says the music is "...not jazz, classical, rock, or is pure Harmolodic where all forms can exist in the now..." This is exactly true. The music on here is unclassifiable and if you pay attention to it, it unfolds before you in strange beauty. One of Ornette's best, I think."
Funkmeister G | 04/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This album was the 1st ever to be released on the Artist's House label back in 1978, & that translates literally to the cover of Body Meta, a gatefold featuring 4 works by different artists, that one on the front is by a tribal leader, probably from when Ornette went to Morrocco to see the Jajouka musicians which inspired Dancing In Yr Head & this [others like Brian Jones, William Burroughs & Lee Ranaldo have taken this enlightening pilgrimage], & the credits are saved for an insert which also features a great poem 'Conversation For A Song' & a then complete discography + the sheet music for the song Fou Amour from this excellent disc. Staccato drums then guitars open the album on Voice Poetry, & it flows along brilliantly to feature this new band of guitarists Bern Nix & Charlie Ellerbee, bassist [electric that is] Jamalaadeen Tacuma & drummer Shannon Jackson for a couple of minutes before the arrival of the man himself. The he is the star & his playing is as pure & soulful as it was back on the Shape of Jazz to Come, & in a way it's unfortunate that everything else gets buried underneath it after this but it works well. The comparisons to the Trout Mask Magic Band do make sense although this is not as cacaphonous & seemingly chaotic [Beefheart although being highly influenced by Coleman, like to only have himself allowed to improvise while his groups must stick strictly to what he composed & his personality is a bit more obsessive too], Body Meta is one of the rare things worthy of being played directly after that in-a-world-of-its-own masterpiece. Each track here is around 8 minutes which is enough time to explore without losing the listening audience. The next 2 tracks move along nicely in a similar vein whilst Fou Amour [i.e. Mad Love] is a ballad & the guitars are playing parts normally designed for a piano. European Echoes if I'm not mistaken was an older tune from the Golden Circle & is rather graceful but thankfully lets loose a bit on the outro, by which time I want to spin the whole platter again which I could do for hours on end. This is music of pure soul expression & deserves a lot of repeated listening, it's highly danceable/funky too. I would highly recommend it to anyone & everyone. For the body & the mind. Long live Ornette & all of his players."
A great modest one
Kurt Hoffman | nyc | 05/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"the opening track, Voice Poetry, is one of the great Ornette tracks. The Beefheart comparisons are somewhat apt -- multi-rhythmed, multi-tonal guitar driven funk seem like they might, in some convoluted way, be indebted to Beefheart's Troutmask-era music (which itself was profoundly influenced by Ornette, later Coltrane stuff, and others from the jazz field).

However, for all the delicious confusion here, this music is suave, coming out of a harmonically complex jazz tradition, played by highly skilled players. Where the Magic Band's reed playing consists exclusively of squalls, burbles and shrieks, Ornette's playing is all about lyrical melodies, sweet ones, playful ones, bluesy ones, held together by themes and moods, by the way they bounce off the collective improvisations of his band.

Anyway, "Voice Poetry" is worth the price of the album.

The rest of the album isn't bad at all, uptempo numbers, though they seem less noteworthy.

i also like the way this and 'Dancing in your Head' are recorded, very clean, present and transparent, none of the unfortunate studio production ideas that mar some of the later Prime Time efforts."