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William C. Altreuter
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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Jeff Simon's Sunday column memorializing Ornette Coleman is just about the Jeff Simonyest thing ever. Allow me to summarize: Ornette Coleman was great. Me, Jeff Simon, never saw him live. Jeff Simon saw a lot of great jazz musicians live, here's a list. Here's some anecdotage, featuring someone I am related to.

I spent the weekend listening to Coleman's music, which is always fresh-sounding no matter how familiar it has become to me through repeated listening. He really did change the way music is played and listened to, and I am going to fill in some of the gaps in my collection soon. The soundtrack to Naked Lunch, and his Pat Metheny collaboration are two big holes. When a guy like that dies the way to remember him if you are someone who claims expertise is to point others down the path. Jeff Simon, unfortunately, made his column about Jeff Simon. Since that is pretty much what Jeff Simon's columns are always about we all know pretty much everything we need to know about Jeff Simon. A little more about Ornette Coleman would have been cool.

| Comments:
Simon makes me crazy. He's a skilled and knowledgeable guy, but there's often a smarminess about his approach that rankles. His reviews of just about anything invariably devote half the column space to him showing off his knowledge, before he ever gets to the thing he's supposed to be reviewing. I've long noted his utter inability to mention Roger Ebert in ANY context at all without at some point outlining his hatred for the various Siskel&Ebert TV programs. It borders on pathological at times! Oh well.
 
This past Sunday's piece may be the first time I've seen him mention Dizzy Gilespie without adding that this one time he say him and he was the only white guy in the room. I agree with your take: you will seldom go wrong following his recommendations (about music, at least) but his reviews are always about Jeff Simon.
 

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