Ornette Coleman and Prime Time
Of Human Feelings
Antilles : 1982
OC, alto sax; Bern Nix and Charles Ellerbee, guitar; Jamaaladeen Tacuma, bass; Calvin Weston and Denardo Coleman, drums.
New York City, 1979: Sid’s dead, graffiti everywhere, The Warriors opens in movie theatres to sporadic violence. And Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time hits a U.S. studio for the first time. “Sleep Talk” is one of the great Ornette themes, his alto arcing over the burbling double funk. Most recently recast as “Sleep Talking” on Sound Grammar, “Sleep Talk” retains a freshness that’s impervious to age. Doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, either. “Love Words” is the “ballad” of this date. You can hear the double quartet murmur sweet nothings across the divide, bridged again by Ornette.
The slick production threw off any number of jazz reviewers at the time, so leave it to a rock dean to nail this one: “A breakthrough if not a miracle: warm, listenable harmolodic funk. Most great lyric artists shore up their effusions with irony, but the way this music confounds mind-body dualism should provide all the release from tension anyone needs. The teeming intellectual interplay of the rhythms is no less humane than the childlike bits of melody. And the way the players break into ripples of song only to ebb back into the tideway is participatory democracy at its most practical and utopian.” Prime Time! Come out to play-i-ay!