Ornette...proof that you can totally not understand something in any intellectual or emotional way and it still resonates so powerfully. Prior to Dancing In Your Head, which I wore out twice on vinyl, I had and have NO idea what Ornette was on about.
I could not parse his music. I could not grok it. I could not understand it. I'm not even sure I could say it 'moves 'me; it evokes emotions I can't name. it puts me in a place I cannot name; I like it, though. I love it. At specific and rare times, I need it. And sometimes, his music makes me so restless I can't stand it.
Watever Ornette was doing struck me so powerfully and sounded as alien all the time - never less so on repeated listens - as it did familiar and meaningful. I hate to describe him as 'impenetrable; maybe he was. His music penetrated me in ways beyond words. Dancing In Your Head was suddenly comprehensible as were most of his compositions after. That you could dance to it, dance to Ornette, or hell, nod your head and tap your foot to it, was shocking. I think of Ornette as such a rock, so beautifully tailored and turned out, solid as a mountain amid that chaos. He knew where he was, always.
Those profound small group works with Haden and Cherry were conversations in a language from another planet, another sound-space-time continuum altogether. Their interior meaning escaped me, but the force of their connection, the eloquence of their communication, bore so much emotion even when I could not understand what they were saying. Fom listen one, you knew Haden totally understood what Ornette sought, his moods, his intentions, how to count it, where to be now or ten measures from now.... What a relief and blessing those two must have been to one another.
All these decades later, his music remains mysterious. What is he doing? What is he thinking? What is he on about? I don't know. I know no one's music does to me what Ornette's does. My lack of comprehension opens so many other doors as I listen. Maybe that's what he's on about...