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Lincoln Center Festival: ‘Naked Lunch’ (film with live orchestral accompaniment) at Alice Tully Hall

“A fascinating, demanding, mordantly funny picture.” – Variety

David Cronenberg’s 1991 film inspired by William S. Burroughs’s hallucinatory novel owes a lot of its surrealist mood to its famous score—a collaboration between Howard Shore and Ornette Coleman. In this screening and live performance, saxophonists Ravi Coltrane and Henry Threadgill summon Ornette’s spirit in otherworldly riffs and fevered tangents while Ensemble Signal evokes Shore’s shadowy orchestral textures.

Burroughs’s novel—an experimental, nonlinear set of vignettes about a junkie known sometimes as William Lee—was released in 1959, the same year as Coleman’s album The Shape of Jazz to Come, and the two artists both inhabited the same fringes. Listen closely to hear Coleman’s composition “Midnight Sunrise” from the album Dancing in Your Head. Burroughs was at the 1973 recording session.

Directed by David Cronenberg
Based on the novel by William S. Burroughs
Score by Ornette Coleman and Howard Shore

Ensemble Signal
Conductor Brad Lubman

Saxophone Ravi Coltrane, Henry Threadgill
Bass Charnett Moffett
Drums Denardo Coleman


Cover: Ornette Coleman in Tomorrow is the Question; photo: Lincoln Center Festival.


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