Ornette in Amarillo

We’re following up on our special program “Ornette: Deep from the Heart of Texas” with Dave Oliphant

We go even further down this fascinating rabbit hole.

When Ornette was 19 (1949), he had an extended gig in Amarillo, Texas where he regularly jammed “after hours” with a legendary avant-garde hillbilly steel guitar player.

The history of American music is richer and more surprising than we can imagine!

NOTE: There were THREE Billy Briggs in Texas: a fiddle player, a saxophonist, and the artist in question.

You can get Michael H. Price’s fascinating book “Thick Lights, Loud Smoke, and Dim, Dim Music” here:

Note: It was a performance of this tune by a visiting jazz band performing in the auditorium of I.M. Terrell High School in Fort Worth that Ornette says inspired him with the idea of playing the saxophone (c. 1943)

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

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Allen Toussaint and Professor Longhair
Nosotros La Musica