A 1976 Ornette Coleman
recording, and his first to feature a full-time electric band, Prime Time
. Prime Time was almost a proof-of-concept
thing, in which he applied his theory
to bring a disparate bunch of musicians together to play Ornettemusik. The band at the time of the recording consisted of Ornette on alto saxophone
, Rudy MacDaniel (later to be known as Jamaaladeen Tacuma) on electric bass, drummer (Ronald) Shannon Jackson, and a pair of guitarists, Bern Nix and Charles Ellerbee.
MacDaniel came from an R&B background, Nix from a straightahead jazz background, Ellerbee from rock bands, and Jackson was a veteran of the early years of NYC's free jazz wars. In Jackson's case, he had already been formulating a unique concept of rhythm that fit well with what Ornette was trying to do; the others were probably the actual guinea pigs.
Prime Time's portion of the album consists of two takes of something called "Theme From a Symphony", a snippet from Ornette's 1972 symphony Skies of America, but a theme that had been in the repertoire of his acoustic ensembles dating back to around 1968. The versions here are a loose-limbed, improvisational, funky analog to the music of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band; an obscure Ornette quote from a few years later, "Beefheart's thing is good", might imply an interest in that music, either influencing or as a result of Prime Time.
The rest of the album consists of some recordings made in 1973, with the Master Musicians of Jajouka, Morocco, along with writer/musician Robert Palmer (not the singer); this may have been the occasion of Ornette's "eureka" moment of harmolodics, and of a "universal folk music", one universal enough to embrace other musics or assimilate other musicians, such as Jerry Garcia and Pat Metheny.
Ornette's son Denardo became the Prime Time drummer later on, often in tandem with Jackson or another drummer. This version of the group played on Ornette's Saturday Night Live appearance in 1979.