It was two hours later, trying to decide whether my snakeyes should count for my "1's" or the chance roll, that I realized I'd programmed the CD on repeat. I also realized that I was hearing melodies--strange, surreal, unique melodies, but melodies all the same. What fun, even exhilarating music! Then I further realized that my wife, without even realizing it, was moving her neck and shoulders to the swing rhythms I'd noticed before.
Boom! Story #2 hit like a ton of bricks.
When you put music on repeat and then ignore it, it's not that you're not listening to it; not really. What you're doing is letting it seep into your subconscious, and that is what does the processing for you. Or, if you like, gut instinct.
Understanding that free-jazz musicians know what they're doing is crucial. It allows you to realize that the chaos you seem to be hearing is deliberate, and gives you an in--after all, if there's a method to the madness, you can get in on that method.
That said, even if you don't get it at first, let it sink in, and don't be so sure that the seemingly high-concept abstraction won't punch you right in the gut. Sure, you have to get used to the stuff, just like you have to get used to anything else...but once you do, your id will have as much stake in the music as your rational faculties do.
Perhaps this can be summed up by another Ornette quote, this one from his liner notes to my favorite of his records, This Is Our Music: "Learned technique is a law method. Natural technique is nature's method. And this is what makes music so beautiful to me: It has both, thank God."
So does music appreciation. Thank God.