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November 5, 2010

"Soapsuds, Soapsuds" - Ornette Coleman

The ideal jazz group for me would probably be a piano-less quartet or quintet. Think of the Art Ensemble or Ornette Coleman's classic quartet, and even a lot of Anthony Braxton's recordings. I don't have any stance against the piano. Give me Monk, Bley, Taylor, Abrams, Silver any moment in time. Some free jazz enthusiasts even enjoy to go further beyond, rejecting the skeletal structure that say a drummer employs. However, I traditionally enjoy the pulsating, repetitive texture that the drums impart on a band. However! Take for example, Soapsuds, Soapsuds. In this case, eliminating both the pianist and the drummer really creates an intimate scenario.

This truly unique, duet presentation by Coleman and Charlie Haden was originally put out on Artist's House. In 1996 it was reissued by Verve, but I believe is now currently out of print. If you're patient enough, the This Shape of Jazz Pandora station does offer some tracks from this album.

What's served up here is three Coleman compositions, one by Haden, and a theme to a TV show called, "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." One of the rare instances Coleman performs a non-original tune. I'd also like to point out the lack of alto on this session as well. Which I think the tenor works quite successfully along with the warm, rich, woodiness of the fiddle bass.

New Music reBlog has some info on the TV series:
Louise Lasser starred as the pigtailed and depressed housewife 'Mary Hartman' in Norman Lear's 'controversial' soap opera spoof. It was on every weekday right before the evening news. The gloopy title music is a parody of standard telenovela schmaltz and has been lodged in my head now for more than three decades.

Coleman is also taking a break from his newly developed electric sounds -- this is acoustic, airy, border-less, elastic, and amoebic. And this is highly approachable for those just getting into the "newer" sounds. Soapsuds, Soapsuds, is a far step to the side compared to his Prime Time efforts. As we head deeper into these, chilly, wetter months, Soapsuds, Soapsuds becomes the perfect fireside companion.
1977 - Artist's House.
Ornette Coleman - Tenor Saxophone, Trumpet - Charlie Haden - Bass.