Ornette: Made in America
Film Screening & Discussion with David Lee
Author of The Battle of the Five Spot
Thomas Craig Oliver Rooftop Terrace
Thursday 30 July 2015 / Doors at 8:30PM / Screening at 9PM
Only ten bucks!
David Lee presents the new edition of his acclaimed book on Ornette Coleman, The Battle of the Five Spot. His talk will be followed by a showing of the newly remastered Shirley Clarke film Ornette: Made in America.
Ornette: Made in America (1985)
Directed by Shirley Clarke
On June 11, the great American saxophonist and composer Ornette Coleman passed away at the age of 85. In this presentation, Hamilton writer and double bassist David Lee talks about Coleman and his controversial music in the context of Lee’s acclaimed book The Battle of the Five Spot: Ornette Coleman and the New York Jazz Field, a unique account of the explosive debut of “free jazz.” Lee’s talk serves as a preamble to a showing of Ornette: Made in America, the 1985 documentary by the fearless American filmmaker Shirley Clarke.
Ornette: Made in America does not chronicle the life of Coleman, but rather emulates his freeform style by mixing together excerpts from performances, interviews, experimental music videos and reenactments of Coleman’s childhood. Included are interviews with and original footage of William S. Burroughs, Buckminster Fuller, Ed Blackwell, Robert Palmer, George Russell, John Rockwell, Don Cherry and Ornette’s son and longtime drummer, Denardo Coleman.
The film intercuts interviews, archive footage and psychedelic sequences around Coleman’s performance of Skies of America with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra at the city’s Convention Center. The opening of the now-defunct Caravan of Dreams nightclub serves as a catalyst for the film’s production, but Shirley Clarke had actually been working on the film for a span of over 20 years. The 1968 footage with Ornette, the young Denardo, and the great bassist Charlie Haden was filmed by Clarke for a separate film that never came to fruition.