The second night of Ornette Coleman's two-week stand in Sweden was even fierier than the first, if the recorded documents are to be believed. For starters, December 4 was the night that Coleman brought out the violin and the trumpet on the first tune; "Snowflakes and Sunshine" must have taken club-goers by surprise. Those first notes skitter across the neck as the bow goes "scree" in the middle registers and bassist David Izenzon moves to create an atonal bed of rock for Coleman, while Charles Moffett plays in the triple time to a cipher of a time signature. And just as the violin starts to create a tension that is difficult for the other two members of his trio to endure musically, Coleman switches to trumpet and hauls it back inside, or at least to the ledge's edge before returning to the violin a few minutes later. The rhythm sect tries to rein him in, but he careens off Izenzon's arco playing and into an entirely new harmonic language. For the rest of the gig, it's back to the alto, with Coleman even going as far as to goof on Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" on the opening bars of "Morning Song" before playing a ballad every bit as tender and angularly beautiful as one of his. "Riddles" is one of Coleman's Eastern screamers, played modally with the same kind of breathy acrobatics Coltrane used on the music that made it onto the posthumous Sunship. There are several drone modes created by Izenzon, with off-measure rhythmic figures cut by Moffett. Coleman plays the alto as one would a Tibetan oboe or a thighbone trumpet, reaching deep into the lower register to touch the drone and then sail off into scalar abandon. There is more than enough fire, but the astonishing thing is the color and texture Coleman gets from the horn. The set closes with a lovely, knotty piece called "Antiques," in which Izenzon and Coleman match modes for an interesting meeting of the minds in a dramatic wash of color and mood. This is the stronger of the two evenings, but they are both fine records by an under-recognized band in Coleman's development.
All Music Guide