Ditto for The Great London Concert, which ended the two years of retirement that Ornette proclaimed in late 1962. This set is where Coleman premiered the piece known as "Forms and Sounds for Wind Quartet." It's a lot like "Dedication" from Town Hall, but it's simultaneously wittier and more ponderous. The rest of the set overlaps somewhat with Town Hall and has the same kind of crackling tension...but where the previous record is all a jolt of artistic excitement, this one is crisp with the anxiety and nerves of a comeback.
It was a successful one, of course, and it spread throughout Europe with great acclaim and incredible musical accomplishment (as documented on the Stockholm Golden Circle sets). Europe, certainly (and unfortunately), has always been more welcoming of jazz in general--and the avant-garde in particular--than America ever was, and it was packed with musical and artistic types who were desperate to make Ornette's acquaintance. Among these, apparently, were a surprising number of filmmakers, all of whom had soundtrack commissions in their hands.
Chappaqua Suite, for example. It was the first commissioned score for Conrad Rooks' film Chappaqua--which, although made by an American director and named for a Long Island town (the same place where the Clintons now live), it was a French production and was filmed almost entirely in Paris. Rooks asked Coleman to compose the music for his exploration of drug addiction, and in response our man took his trio, fellow freeman Pharoah Sanders, and several string and woodwind players into the studio in June of 1965 and made a mammoth, four-part masterpiece that showed off his plaintively emotional saxophone wailing AND his mesmerizing skill at orchestral composition. It was, in fact, so beautiful and complex that Rooks was ultimately afraid that it would overshadow the film, so he commissioned another score and released Ornette's suite as a double album.
Kind of an unlikely, fantastic story, ain't it? It didn't happen again...but it came damn close. In 1966, Coleman was asked to write and record another soundtrack, this one for a Belgian flick called Who's Crazy? Again Coleman took his trio into the studio--although this time he played his bizarre and self-taught trumpet and violin along with the trademark plastic alto sax--and again he produced a fearsome double album. This one was much less of a unified piece than was Chappaqua Suite, but it showed the Coleman trio doing one of the things it did past: playing like they were on fire, a savage and barely-controlled fury that bleeds right through the speakers.