The Nina Simone documentary currently airing on NETFLIX is a bittersweet depiction of Eunice Waymon, the woman trapped inside Nina Simone, and a celebration of the sweet genius of The High Priestess of Soul. Many times you want to turn your face or cover your ears during scenes of our own history that make even a grown man cry. While many black artists funded the revolution and the civil rights movement Nina Simone was one of those artists who wrote the songs about the struggle and got chest deep in it, at great personal expense . For those who love her, the live music footage of the Goddess is never enough. Her playing? Impeccable! Her command over the material, the audience and the band, far and above any you will ever see. If you love glorious, beautiful, heart wrenching music and if you think that the struggle for inequality in this country is obsolete, watch this documentary.
It’s easy to map a bridge between the two men and call it Jazz. But under the surface we see that what makes these two great artists the authors of their own canon is their ability, nay their drive, to communicate to an audience. The impatient listeners won’t hear it. Under seemingly complicated forms and polyrhythms lies a statement projected back onto ourselves, themselves. They are holding up a panoramic image up to our face and have stepped in right next to us as if to pose for a selfie and all the while we see them as distant and separate from ourselves. In awe of them we create an impassable abyss between us and them. Embrace the beauty, therein lies the simplicity.
Gunther Schuller interviews Ornette Coleman 1960 beginning with Ornettes Giggin. Interview starts at around 5:04.