Ornette: Made in America

“A funky, non-fiction tribute to the great avant-garde saxophonist, Ornette upends the staid portrait-of-the-artist formula.” — Melissa Anderson, Village Voice

Director: Shirley Clarke
Year: 1985
Country: USA
Running time: 77 mins

Editor: Shirley Clarke
Producers: Kathelin Hoffman Gray
Photography: Ed Lachman
Sound: Sanford Rackow
Music: Ornette Coleman
Colour and B&W

With: Ornette Coleman, Denardo Coleman, Charles Ellerbe, Sabir Kamal, Albert McDowell, Bern Nix, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, John Giordano, Ed Blackwell, William Burroughs, Don Cherry, James Clay, Jayne Cortes

Festivals: Berlin 2012

“New York’s Milestone Films continues its essential mission of restoring the perceptive and socially conscious works of underground American filmmaker Shirley Clarke with this mesmerizing 1985 portrait of jazz icon Ornette Coleman. [See also Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World on our programme.] Aided by cinematographer Edward Lachman, Clarke constructs a kaleidoscopic look at Coleman’s technique through a remarkable collage of performances, personal reminiscences and dizzying montages that connect the Dallas native’s vibrant music with the ideas and places that inspired it. From the dilapidated streets of his childhood to the existential theories of Buckminster Fuller, his influences come to life before our eyes. Building to a crescendo along with its orchestral soundtrack (which takes cues from Coleman’s ‘Skies of America’), Ornette isn’t just a love letter to the liberty of jazz rhythms; it excels at expressing them.” — Eric Kohn, Indiewire 

“It’s essential viewing for any jazz aficionado.” — Geoff Andrew, Time Out