http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/c5477b573bc81a9986170a2478fa3f693875e64b.jpg Dancing In Your Head

Ornette Coleman

Dancing In Your Head

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 0 0
September 22, 1977

These records provide an eloquent case for the universality of music. The Texas blues evolution to free-form expressiveness practiced by alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman makes implicit reference to the music of several of the West Africans represented on the Antilles anthology. At surface level there would seem to be little connection between such a luminary of avant-garde jazz as Coleman and African pop musicians influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Art Blakey and Bob Dylan. But these seemingly different points of view are resolved through provocative rhythmic symmetry.

" ... Rock, classical, folk and jazz are all yesterday's titles," Coleman writes in his liner notes to Dancing in Your Head, his first record in five years. Dancing certainly defies categorization — the rock-solid foundation is simple in its repetitive cadence, yet incredibly complex structurally and melodically, combining several different rhythms and harmonies simultaneously, an idea Coleman describes as "harmolodic." Ornette solos fiercely throughout, improvising on a given line in as many variations as conceivable. The result is a stream of music that makes you want to dance and listen at the same time.

Coleman also includes a short piece, "Midnight Sunrise," recorded with the master musicians of Joujouka. This traditional Moroccan music is quite different from what the Ivory Coast musicians play, but there is a character to the singing of the Ivory Coast musicians that identifies it with the high-pitched drone of the Moroccan reeds.

Most importantly, though, the loosely associated musicians who play on each other's songs on the Antilles anthology (especially bassist Charles Atangana and guitarist Francis Kingsley) have a vision of music that assimilates Western and Eastern forms. Influences from Frank Zappa to James Brown filter through with the same attitude that these musicians use in their own traditional folk music. In their rhythmic concept these African musicians, like Coleman, find the key to transcending style clichés. Thus they render musical exclusivity useless. A quote from Atangana fits well with Coleman's remark: "Music is a beat, and without a beat there is no life."

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Bleeding Love”

    Leona Lewis | 2007

    In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

    More Song Stories entries »