Friday, May 8, 2009

Will Ornette Coleman Please Stand Up?

So I was watching local news last night and Canal Trece's "Telenoche" was reporting about jazz legend Ornette Coleman's Argentina premiere on Thursday night at the historic Teatro Gran Rex. Clearly, jazz fans (and there are many here) were ecstatic about his arrival.

The only problem was that until a few hours earlier, they couldn't find him.

Apparently, the 79-year-old sax player had disappeared at some point on Wednesday and had not been seen for 24 hours. Clearly, this was cause for concern, on several levels. According to Canal Trece, Coleman (which they repeatedly pronounced as "Col-ay-Mun") had eluded his bodyguards at the Panamericano Hotel in downtown Buenos Aires and was nowhere to be seen. It was not until early Thursday (the day of the gig) that he was found, passed out and alone on the street, in Tigre, a Buenos Aires suburb some 45 minutes from downtown. Let's just let that one sink in for a minute: He is 79-years-old, but apparently isn't too old to go on a bender and get himself lost somewhere in South America. I love jazz guys. They don't mess around. They get after it. Of course, maybe he just forgot to take his medicine and became disoriented and wandered off, but me thinks that if you are found sleeping on the street, well, then, it must have been a hell of a night. We've all been there, right?


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