Jazz Critic's Choice: Ornette Coleman and Charlie Haden
Kirk Silsbee, LA CityBeat, 4 November 2004
IN 1954, IF you had stepped through the door at 309 N. Main St. in downtown L.A., you would've entered a netherworld of vice called The Tip Top Club. It was a rough trade gay bar where knife fights could break out over a stray look at the she-male bartender. It was also a place where jazz musicians, who didn't mind being paid by what was left in the kitty (a few dollars, reefer and pills), played. Alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman — with trumpeter Bobby Bradford and pianist Floyd Howard — used the place as a laboratory to reorder the DNA of chord changes, keys and tempos. Ornette's subsequent move to New York in '60 set the jazz world on its ear and his was one of the main vernaculars in the free jazz conversation.
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