Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ornett Coleman's Grammy Remarks


Most people out there world don't know that Ornette Coleman actually received a lifetime achievement award at the pre-telecast ceremony during Grammy weekend.

But even fewer people know that Ornette Coleman gave one of the most "out" speeches ever that had most of the crowd muttering, "Who the hell is this guy? What rock did they pull him out from under?"

Anyways, I received this transcription from a person who attended the ceremony which was not televised and only open to industry insiders and award recipients. It starts with an introduction by Charlie Haden, Ornette's longtime musical collaborator.

Ornette Coleman's Lifetime Achievement Acceptance Speech (starting with Charlie Haden’s comments)

CH: Tonight NARAS is presenting an award that goes to the deepest and most beautiful part of music--deep and beautiful like Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, and Ornette Coleman.

Ornette opened up a whole new world of musical discovery and exploration. That journey of music being born for the first time, continues today in his compositions and improvisation.

Over the years we’ve played many concerts and many, many recordings together and even now, when I play music with him it’s the most exciting and rewarding musical experience of my life. I am honored to present this Lifetime A A to the great Ornette Coleman.


OC: It is really very, very real to be here tonight, in relationship to life and death and I’m sure they both love each other.

I really don’t have any present thoughts about why I’m standing here other than trying to figure out something to say that could be useful to someone that believes.

One of the things I am experiencing is very important and that is: You don’t have to die to kill and you don’t have to kill to die. And above all, nothing exists that is not in the form of life because life is eternal with or without people so we are grateful for life to be here at this very moment.

For myself, I’d rather be human than to be dead. And I would also die to be human. So you can’t die, you can’t die to be neither one, regardless of what you say or think so that’s why I believe that music itself is eternal in relationship to sound, meaning, intelligence…all the things that have to have something to do with being alive because you were born and because someone else made it possible for you to be here, which we call our parents etc. etc.

For me, the most eternal thing is that I would like to live until I learn what it is and what it isn’t…that is, how do we kill death since it kills everything?

And it’s hard to realize that being in the human form is not as easy as wondering what is going to happen to you even if you do know what it is and it doesn’t depend on if you know what is going to happen to you.

No one can know anything that life creates since no one is life itself. And it’s obvious, at least I believe, it’s obvious the one reason why we as human beings get there and do things that seem to be valuable to us in relationship to intelligence… uh, what is it called…creativity and love and all the things that have to do with waking up every morning believing it’s going to be a better day today or tomorrow and yet at the same time death, life, sadness, anger, fear, all of those things are present at the same time as we are living and breathing.

It is really, really eternal, this that we are constantly being created as human beings to know that exists and it’s really, really unbelievable to know that nothing that’s alive can die unless it’s been killed. So what we should try to realize is to remove that part of what it is so that whatever we are, life is all there is and I thank you very much.


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Well, I think that's as real as it gets. I welcome comments.

3 comments:

euskir said...

This collection of thoughts are open doors and windows, fresh air in a world where there's so little space to express your inner feelings in a faithfull way to your own ideas and conceptions.
But it's the same with Ornette's music, so, at the end, not a surprise, just a confirmation of a human being beautiful soul.

etno said...

That's SUPER-real. Thanks for sharing!

Curtis said...

Fantastic! Ornette has finally put words to his music. Is there an album to come? Does he sing?