This live performance, recorded at a club in Stockholm in 1965, has three tracks on it that I think are the best Ornette Coleman ever played. Two are definitely "bebop on high ethyl" - 'Dee Dee' & 'Doughnut' - while the third, 'Dawn', is Coleman's most convincing demonstration that he could play lyrically when he so chose. The trio that Ornette took to Europe included Charles Moffet on drums, for the octane drive, and David Izenson on bass, for the suave conceptual lyricism. They were a remarkable mesh of contrasts.
Ornette's first LP, "The Shape of Jazz to Come", caught me in my first year of college still listening mostly to West Coast melancholia. Ornette was playing a plastic alto sax that had all the tonal beauty of a hamster on a rusty exercise wheel, but that woke my ears to a kind of music made from raw energy. As it turned out, Ornette's sound wasn't "the shape of jazz" for long, not even for Coleman himself. It was too ornately crude, too obviously effortful, and by 1965 Ornette was ready to "fess up" that he really could play the saxophone with grace, that he had not only energy but also fresh harmonic and rhythmic ideas. That was also the decade of Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, and other outrageously bold innovators, but Ornette Coleman has remained for many jazz fans the outer limit of comprehensibility. 'Farther out' than Ornette, there are only the European "Free Jazz" musical terrorists.
If you've never heard Ornette Coleman, I can't guarantee that you'll love him on first or second listening. His music may seem deliberately crude and/or chaotic. On this CD at least, on the three tracks I named, it's certainly not chaotic, and the more I listen, the more of Charlie Parker's ghost I hear. Coleman has shaped jazz over the last 40 years, not exactly in his acoustic image but with nervous attention to his fierce independence from any pop crossover commercial impulses. Coleman is more than free; he's pure.