On June 11, 2015, an important innovator of the music world passed away. Ornette Coleman changed the way we hear, play, and think about music forever, and as a celebration in this year to his life, two talented groups of inspired musicians will perform various works and music influenced from the late, great provocateur’s legacy.

Two exciting Seattle ensembles saluted the late, great provocateur. Bassist Birch Pereira’s Action Figure, with Seth Alexander and Dave Abramson, performs the music of the early Ornette small groups, while electric bassist Ryan Berg looks to the Prime Time years with his Focus on Sanity. They are comprised of James DeJoie (alto saxophone), Jim Knodle (trumpet), Dennis Rea (guitar), Ken Masters (guitar), Ryan Berg (bass), John Seman (bass), Stephen Thomas Cavit (drums), Don Berman (drums), and Matt McCluskey (keyboards).

Action Figure is comprised of Seth Alexander (alto saxophone), Birch Pereira (bass), and Dave Abramson(drums). The trio will be focused on the earlier stages of the early Ornette Coleman small groups, where harmonic instruments, such as the guitar and piano, were excluded to leave more room for melodic and compositional freedom. Action Figure was featured in Earshot’s “Jazz: The Second Century” juried series earlier this year.




Focus on Sanity, below, named after the Ornette Coleman tune from the masterpiece The Shape of Jazz to Come, is a nine-piece double-quartet format, albeit with different instrumentation, with an extra voice. The group’s instrumentation follows a similar path found on such records as Coleman’s Free Jazz. Focus on Sanity’s performance looked to Coleman’s Prime Time years where he began featuring electric guitars in his ensembles and frequently performed through group improvisational methods.

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