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Ornette Coleman had burst into the public consciousness with his quartet, but for his two-week stint at Stockholm’s Golden Circle club in November and December 1965, he pared down to just three pieces. (It was with this group that Coleman would bookend a three-year hiatus beginning in 1962.) Accompanied by bassist David Izenzon and drummer Charles Moffett, the saxophonist sounded joyful and confident performing for the Swedes, who had likely read the breathless media reports: “One of the great cultural events in Stockholm this fall,” one trumpeted. Fortunately, two of those shows were recorded and released on a pair of extraordinary albums.The trio jumps from the gate on Volume 1 with an exuberant “Faces and Places,” the altoist displaying no rust from his long layoff. Coleman holds forth with bluesy, barwalking brio as Izenzon and Moffett churn up the excitement, the drummer letting loose with cries of exhortation as he urges Coleman on. The group follows with “European Echoes,” a wry (perhaps sardonic?) waltz in which the saxophonist practically bites into his staccato phrases.
Coleman’s boppish “Dee Dee” begins Side 2, his effulgent lines dancing gleefully atop the swift-moving rhythmic stream. The album concludes with the wistful “Dawn,” Izenzon’s arco and pizzicato phrases shadowing Coleman’s steps while Moffett offers sensitive, shimmering accents. The bassist’s bowed solo further underlines the mood of the piece, which undergoes yet another shift toward song’s end. The equally exciting Volume 2 features Coleman on violin and trumpet on one track, and both records document an important period in the saxophonist’s development.