Restored and reissued by Milestone Film, Ornette: Made in America offers a fascinating visualization of some of the most exciting music of the 20th century. Shirley Clarke's techniques illustrate Ornette's enduring avant-garde chops, as well as the clear melody and structure that runs under even the wildest free jams. As a film about a neglected genius, Ornette could have taken the usual biographical tack of offering an overview of the artist's life interspersed with the plaudits of admirers. But though Clarke does amass some colleagues and friends to sing Ornette's praises, she wisely lets the art have the final say in the worth of its maker, using his contemporary performances as proof that he is still a vital, original voice adding mayhem to the American Songbook.
My full review is up now at Spectrum Culture.