Dec 30, 2012 | Post by: valerieghent 11 Comments

Emmanuel Ghent & Ornette Coleman: Man on the Moon

The avant-jazz single Man on the Moon by Ornette Coleman, released in 1969 in response to the first moon landing, features my father, Emmanuel Ghent, on ‘electronic devices’ jamming with Ornette & an all-star band: Ornette Coleman – alto sax; Don Cherry – trumpet; Dewey Redman – tenor sax; Charlie Haden – bass; Ed Blackwell – drums; Emmanuel Ghent – electronic devices.

I was delighted to find this out of print recording on YouTube this week:

My father shares a writing credit w/ Ornette on the tune:

It is curious that the B-side of “Man on the Moon” is named “Growing Up”. For me personally, listening to “Man on The Moon” evokes memories of my childhood. When I was a child growing up in SoHo, Ornette lived in our building. In those years, artists (including my parents) were living in, working out of and renovating entire floors of empty factory buildings in SoHo – all before zoning allowed residential use.  In 1970, our building became known for a few years as ‘Artist House‘. Ornette intended Artist House to serve as a live-work performance space for ‘artists of all kinds’. According to jazz.com, residents of Artist House included Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins and Truvenza Coleman, Ornette’s sister.

Ornette lived on the third floor and used the ground floor to rehearse and perform. He would come upstairs to my father’s electronic music studio from time to time and they would jam. Apparently my father recorded a few of these sessions, because there are a few reel-to-reel tapes in my father’s archive with Ornette’s name on the spine. Wonder what is on them! Can you imagine? I hope they are still transferable.

A few years after the release of Man on the Moon (on Impulse), my father performed some of the electronics and studies used for this recording at The Kitchen, on January 17, 1972:

As you can imagine, as a young child I was fascinated by the electronics. Between falling asleep to Ornette’s rehearsals and having (albeit limited) access to the tape machines, who could resist? It was in my father’s studio, on 2-track and 4-track tape machines, that I began to learn the basics of recording.

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11 Comments to Emmanuel Ghent & Ornette Coleman: Man on the Moon

  1. Ben Rosengart
    December 4, 2013 9:56 pm

    This is amazing. I’ve been to your father’s apartment when he was alive (with my mother, Lynne Kwalwasser). I love Ornette Coleman and had no idea that he had played there. Wow.

    • valghent
      December 5, 2013 11:34 am

      Yes Ornette lived in our building AND rehearsed/performed there. Some old NYC jazz history – and electronic music history too. Hope to transfer the tapes soon!

      • Ben
        April 24, 2014 9:38 am

        Still waiting on those tapes!!! They will truly be appreciated…I promise..you’re father was a great man as well as artist.

      • Ben Rosengart
        June 24, 2014 11:08 am

        I remember how excited my father was when Art Blakey considered moving into our building. It never came to pass, alas.

        • valerieghent
          September 25, 2015 11:07 am

          That would have been really cool, Ben! I can imagine it! Ah….SoHo was a very different place in those years. Miss it a lot. The creativity has moved on, now replaced by a giant shopping mall. Sigh.

  2. Luciano
    September 25, 2015 9:48 am

    Dear Valerie,
    meanwhile I was searchin’ on the web some news about Man On the Moon I found you interesting
    liner notes about it.
    I’m one of the fortunates owner of the disco (May Copy is: STATESIDE 2C 006-90643 M, a Pathé marconi/Emi
    affiliated).
    The news that I was searching concernig the label of the first long playing edition.
    As I know that all the version of it was pressed only in France (probably the IMPULSE! too)
    I think my copy could be the first edition of that 7 Inches record.
    Are you so kind to solve my problem.
    Have a good luck for your creative job
    Greetings and thank you in advance
    Luciano.

    PS: I’m a close Don Cherry’s fans and I hope that in the archive of your father there are some tunes of him and someone will published it.
    I apologized with you for my bad English

    • valerieghent
      September 25, 2015 11:04 am

      Dear Luciano,

      Grazie mille for your note! I don’t know about an LP edition but will ask around & let you know.

      Your English is excellent, please no worries! I wish I could speak Italian.

      I hope we will be able to transfer the tapes in the archive soon!

      best wishes to you from NYC,

      Valerie

      • Luciano
        September 25, 2015 11:43 am

        Thanks Valerie
        I’m waiting your reply with hoping you will be able to solve my problem.
        But take your time and best wishes to you from Pisa
        Luciano

  3. Luciano
    September 25, 2015 11:53 am

    Sorry,
    I forgot this:
    Possibly the unissued material from the Crisis session, is the source of this material, which is extracts from performances. Again: Mike Hames in his discograpy suggests that Don Cherry do not plays on it. Directly, at the Harmolodic web site, Don Cherry do not appears as player so, it is not sure if the trumpet player is Don or Ornette.
    Could you ask also if Don Cherry’s plays on it?
    Greetings
    Luciano

  4. Marc Urselli
    September 27, 2015 3:57 pm

    Very very cool… Was just listening to this and it’s far out! Love it! I’ve mixed the last record of Ornette before unfortunately he passed and I would have loved to do more work with him.

  5. Luciano
    December 15, 2015 10:37 am

    Ciao Valerie
    look at:
    http://www.pointofdeparture.org/PoD53/PoD53Ornette.html

    have a Merry Xmas and a new happy year

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