Tone Dialing  by Ornette Coleman

BOMB 56 Summer 1996
Issue 56 056  Summer 1996
Coleman 01 Body

Ornette Coleman. Photo by Austin Trevett.

Ornette Coleman’s debut album, Something Else!, released in 1959, ushered in a new era in jazz history. Free jazz transformed the art form with a concept Coleman called Harmolodic. Other recordings followed: The Empty FoxholeOrnette at 12, and Crisis. In 1994, Coleman was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship Award. His most recent release: Ornette Coleman & Prime Time’s Tone Dialing.

This tone dialing writing is an experience of causes and results from the existences of people I’ve met and read about.

Educational learning has countless subjects for those interested in a degree or degrees. Somewhere, there are educators, experts that know the subject.

Enter gender. The two genders known as male and female. Man and woman are the only two genders that exist as human beings of the one burdened and 22 different faces known that represent today’s civilization.

The genders have not found any concept for removing war, poverty. In the programming of unwanted gender blending, everybody has a common purpose of existing without need of a passport, without fear or prejudices.

Of all of the tribes that exist today that are in the history book and making history, are there any tribes making history that are not fighting for something or someone? The Atheist Society’s fighting for the right not to believe those who hold to the truth of the Bible. The educated, the wealthy, the illiterate, the healthy, the poor, teachers, artists, inventors and their labor force, armies, lawyers, governments, scientists, social and secret societies, the police world, entertainment, doctors, fashion are fighting to protect the right to believe. Sexual freedom. All are fighting to exist within their own scope as one of the genders.

In every country you find the same concept. Some are killing more or less to have their way. What way is that? Every face has a country they came from, but they can’t go to every country. The builders of civilization have stopped building and replaced themselves as civilization.

Enter concepts of education. To learn how to know or do. And, learn how to do to know concerning something that exists or has existed or could exist. Can it be grown, built, seen, heard, or felt? How useful is it? Enter food, shelter, and transportation. The needs of all tribes. The removal of all waste detrimental to health. The concept of education is really people.

Architects of land, sea, and space are involved in creating something without the whole world being involved. But who is involved in the creation of that place? That place of love and peace while still vertical. Have you ever bought money and got less than you had? Everyone likes the same food when it’s the the only food. The census of a city is not the consciousness of its citizens.

Whose job do you own and how much did it cost you? Many jobs are bought. We all mean business to the Business. Which one of these enterprises fits your mind? Communism, Socialism, or Capitalism?

The one that has the most food or fools, Fool. There is a standard for all and the educators are not the only people who know it. You can’t forget something you don’t know. Read the books. They’ll tell you: Evil lives. Ills kill. No more landfills of mothers or fathers, or fathers and mothers. No more landfills of one another. The smiling flowers of the graveyard are not freedom.

Says the postman: No one has to leave home to get an education anymore. The information that is coming to you are the stamps of our time. The experience of relating to relate is common to all. There is no one who has not been kissed that could tell how that kiss is missed. When there is something that you support that people believe in but you don’t necessarily believe in it yourself to demonstrate or concentrate is not a problem.

Every person that is connected to protecting, saving, teaching, judging, watching, listening is in command. The rule of discipline is the highest form of relating. Know the art of discipline. There is not a word spoken or written that doesn’t mean something to someone. Is nature a killer or is nature killed? Sometimes the meaning of words takes on the form of spoken emotion crying within from being without. Who is valuable? It is not a question that one should ask about another. The DNA is here to stay. Is intelligence a risk to someone who doesn’t know something? Only if it hasn’t been taught.

America is the number one country of dual passports. If there were a poll concerning the language of America, English would not be the native language of America. Racially, America is white, but not all of the whites’ native language is English. What is the language of law? It is the highest quality of decision making concerning human nature. Law is made by persons regardless of the language of words. Law has very little religious nature yet religion is the pure essence of law. Maybe all races could have a better relationship to law and the meaning of law if the results could change from taking, charging, deceiving, and punishing. Monarchs were the first lawyers. Today lawyers are the monarchs of written words.

An article on the study of the conscious mind by the parapsychological community in the April 16, 1996 New York Times discussed the concept of life’s origins and purpose before they decided to be for or against it. Abuse, lies, war, deceiving, labor exploitation, robbery, race exploitation, killing, confinement, love faking, love taking. Mistrust, violence, vice, thugs, treason, traitors, cheaters, assassins, suicide squad bombers, sterilization, spying, sorcery, torture, slavery, poison, hating, saboteurs, guns, rape, fear, dictator, vulgarity, destruction could be thought garbage if these titled subjects were against the conscious mind, “Why is there someone home inside our head?” Harmless or harmful?

To know or knowing to think doesn’t mean you know. Going and getting back to where you came from is like going again. Nature has no nature. It gets it from everything its asked. Sometimes a woman and man treat each other like a male or female fearing to be an animal but they don’t have hair all over their body or a tail.

The stage is DNA. The performance is done by all who work. The performance has or is being done by all who work under the title of professionals and artists. The artist who draws or paints uses what is known as the stage, so do priests and all others who give oral information to the public. Performing is based on a timing process not where its done. Everyone has figured out that the stage and a stage are equals.

The two genders we read about in the Bible had no need of a stage, job, insurance, playing, singing, or dancing until they produced their own DNA, as a baby expresses the first free will of freedom to choose. To this day, the will to choose starts at the beginning unless it is fixed as in all social forms of abuse. What is the best? Who is the best? Where is the best? Answer: The best one can do for others is best. For themselves, the best is yet to be done.

Building a civilization of equal values cannot be a job, yet it could become a relationship. Money is not value. People make the thing they are and do valuable. Money is everywhere but its value is not.

There are countless addresses that lead to the same door. Today it is called merging. This concept seems to work in business. Will the Democrats and Republicans merge in the future of politics? The -isms, all religions, music, educators, art, police concepts, banks, hospitals, schools, entertainment—all those subjects that produce, provide, and form the stages of work. If China, India, and Nigeria combined, they would have the largest work force in the world. The work place is becoming closer to the performing arts in this value of self-expression. Quality, wealth, perfection, talent as a form of love, are found in everyone. Good or bad are for anyone. Fear is a verb not a noun. Moshe Naim says everything is done one by another. All have merged we just haven’t met each other.

That doesn’t stop us from becoming world citizens. The gun has brought many forms of suffering since its inception. Lipstick and face powder have aroused barrels of gun powder. What someone else has is usually taken away in many forms that are not based on time spent. The future of work for those who believe she or he is a worker should merge with art in all known categories.

Coleman 02 Body

Ornette Coleman. Photo by Austin Trevett.

Personal memories. I remember my grandmother putting chewed up potatoes and snuff from her mouth to mine. Too young to talk or walk. When I was seven, one of my sisters was killed and my mother was hurt while on the way to visit my oldest sister who was attending Prairie View College. While my mother was recuperating, she taught me to cook, sew, and wash laundry. During this same time, my father died.

When my father died, they hung a green wreath by the mailbox on the porch. When I saw the wreath hanging there, I thought it was Xmas. After my father’s death, my mother took me to the park every day for about six months. We’d go there from around ten in the morning to about three in the afternoon.

The first school I remember going to was in a lady’s house. She taught the ABC’s before kindergarten for 25 cents a day. I went once a week for about two months. The public kindergarten was a very far walk and I did not like going to it at first. But I came to like school. I liked learning mathematics and chemistry. Mrs. Campbell spanked me for telling her she had made a mistake on an algebraic problem. I was afraid to tell my mother.

I started playing hooky but I couldn’t go very far. One day at school, when was 12 years old, all of the kids were taken to the auditorium. When we got there, there was a live band. Midway through the performance one of the musicians stood up and played an instrument I later found out to be the saxophone. The leader of the band told us the music was called “The 627 Stomp.” It had a great sax solo written out. I told my mother about the experience and asked if I could get a saxophone. She said I could if I could find a way to get the money to buy one. I made a shoe shine box and walked everywhere trying, hoping someone would hire me to shine their shoes. I went every day after school to shine shoes and brought the money home to my mother. When I was 14, my mother told me to look under the bed and to my surprise, there was an alto saxophone. I put it together and played exactly what I heard and felt. To this day I still play that natural. Hearing that sax solo I soon realized that musicians have to have something to play. I wanted to write what I could play and read other music that was written. I taught myself how to read and write music

The first professional performer that hired my band was Big Joe Turner. He hired us for about six weeks work in Fort Worth. Many musicians stopped off in Fort Worth on their way to the West Coast. Between 17 and 19 years of age I played with and for many of the musicians coming through Fort Worth. We played and jammed with the musicians for Bob Willis and his Texas Playboys, Lester Young and Stan Kenton’s Big Band. I had heard T. Bone Walker was living for awhile in Fort Worth. We played for him. Although I was actively playing with my band, I was mostly writing music during this period.

Bebop was the first instrumental music I had heard since hearing that band in elementary school. Compared to all the cities I traveled to and from, Fort Worth and Dallas played more music of bebop composers than in any other place. For me, bebop had a composer concept as its goal. In the early ’40s bebop was flourishing. I learned all of the current bebop being played while writing as I do now. Those who learned bebop as a style for playing their instruments made the style more important than the concept. One reason was that bebop provides chordal information. It presents a map for everyone to use and causes everyone to end up at the same time and at the same place. Sometimes late. The founders of bebop did not have that problem. They had a worse condition. They were writing mostly for making records, which wasn’t very consistent. All composers of instrumental music face the problem of the performer versus the composer to this day.

Composers are forever changing the forms of their work yet the performers are constantly improving their working repertoire. Music is not a style. Nor is it based on repeating the languages of words.

Out-dating a style in the form of an ideal is not the same thing as out-dating time as form. Inventors are in the forefront of that. Art. One cannot be, become, do, learn, or achieve. We must remove not each other but all needs and wants.

Composers, players, and singers sometimes are of another profession and vice versa. Word writing is the nearest form to sound as music. There are two basic musical forms: instrumental and vocal. Vocal forms are the most natural. The technical information for making instruments and those methods used for composing, arranging, and writing music of yesterday and today haven’t changed very much according to the qualities of those who invented the instruments which were and still are expressed as brass, winds and strings.

The sounds of these instruments have undergone some transformation as well as those instruments used for playing rhythm. The music of sound seems to be going in the direction of form expression. Music has become the use for any method for expressing sound and non-sound information. There are no tribes or musical concepts for any individual to express himself without the cliché of existing music styles.

Existing music pitches are made by a fixed acceleration of frequencies. Only the voice knows there are words and sounds that were sung and spoken before a tribe lost its native language. If your native language no longer exists in your head and you have learned the language of your nationality, has that changed the sound of words in your head? If so, maybe that is why so many different people today are drawn to sound information as music. World music formerly known as ethnic music is replacing pop music. Nationalistic countries package their artists as pop music. Countries that music is spoken in their own language package their music as ethnic music. The only difference in the success of these two forms are that the nationalities have more different frequencies to hear. That’s why there is such a search for freedom in all music to be free of any caste. Instrumental music has its caste problems as well: classical, jazz, and national urban community music known as country, funk, blues, and rock are still in old-fashioned uniforms of military ethnic groups.

The industry packages these categories as national, social, racial groups as if to say that their exposure to the workplace is not the same as their exposure to the people they are working around and for.

Every concept and style of music has been founded by a person born in another country or their own. Every composer born in his native country or another country allows his work to become adopted to his present home. All inventions of use become useful to the ongoing concept of civilization. It’s a fact that rhythm lives in the heart of humanity as the heartbeat, in non-Western tribes it’s called primitive.

The rhythmless dancing of motion called modern dance should be called sculpture in motion. There is a term, swing or swinging, used in instrumental music called jazz. Its highest moment is when the performance has taken on the quality of the global heartbeat. The global heartbeat has the same meaning to everyone. That is why the word jazz means the same to all. It can he applied as a form of expression that does not need a racial or class title to support it. Any form of self-expression can be taught. If it was not so, what would be the need for schools?

The composed concept of the music I write and play is called Harmolodics. The packaged definition is a theoretical method not exclusively applied to music. Harmolodics is a noun that can be applied for the use of participating in any form of information equally without erasing or altering the information. In music, the melody is not the lead. The lead is a sequenced unison form which requires anyone to transpose all melodies note for note to their instrument.

There me three concepts of form to use as melody: Theme; Compositional material; Repetitious sequence of one or more notes.

Here is a sample of a harmolodic idea as a melody, composition, and sequence:






This tone dialing writing is an experience of causes and results from the existences of people I’ve met and read about.

Harmodically yours,

Ornette Coleman

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Originally published in

BOMB 56, Summer 1996

Featuring interviews with Martha Plimpton, Irvine Welsh, Jeffrey Vallance, Nick Pappas, Mark Eitzel, Lee Breuer, Ornette Coleman, Cheick Oumar Sissoko, Janwillem van de Wetering, and Ada Gay Griffin & Michelle Parkerson on Audre Lorde.

Read the issue
Issue 56 056  Summer 1996