Ornette Coleman ‎– The Empty Foxhole

Blue Note ‎– BLP 4246
Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, Mono

Tracklist Hide Credits

A1 Good Old Days
Written-By – Coleman*
A2 The Empty Foxhole
Written-By – Coleman*
A3 Sound Gravitation
Written-By – Coleman*
B1 Freeway Express
Written-By – Coleman*
B2 Faithful
Written-By – Coleman*
B3 Zig Zag
Written-By – Coleman*

Companies, etc.



Recorded on September 9, 1966.

Label is blue and white, with "Blue Note Records • A division of Liberty Records, INC.".

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Label Side A): BN 4246-A
  • Matrix / Runout (Label Side B): BN 4246-B
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout Side A): BNLP-4246 ·A· VAN GELDER
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout Side B): BNLP-4246 ·B· VAN GELDER

Other Versions (5 of 14) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
BLP 4246 Ornette Coleman The Empty Foxhole(LP, Album, Mono, 'Ne) Blue Note BLP 4246 US 1966 Sell This Version
UCCQ-5121 Ornette Coleman The Empty Foxhole(CD, Album, RE, RM, SHM) Blue Note UCCQ-5121 Japan 2015 Sell This Version
HBN 451-04 Ornette Coleman The Empty Foxhole(LP, Album, Mono) Blue Note HBN 451-04 Spain 1967 Sell This Version
BST 84246, GXK-8149 Ornette Coleman The Empty Foxhole(LP, Album, RE) Blue Note, Blue Note BST 84246, GXK-8149 Japan 1980 Sell This Version
HBN (s) 451-04 Ornette Coleman The Empty Foxhole(LP, Album) Blue Note HBN (s) 451-04 Spain 1967 Sell This Version


Reviews Show All 4 Reviews

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May 19, 2018
edited about 1 year ago

There are many who claim that The Empty Foxhole was just about the most unusual and nearly unlistenable album that ever came out of Blue Note catalog, as this group of musicians have not produced the smoothest or most coherent album out there … though certainly with today’s musical branches, this 1966 release is gaining more and more attention for it poly-tonalities, or perhaps lack there of, because both aspects are evident.

Basically in music, polytonality is the simultaneous occurrence of two or more counter or differing tonalities or keys, which are the interrelated sets of notes and chords used in a composition. Usually this feat is calculated and occurs through thought and consideration, reflecting the holding and expression of two or more ideas at the same time. This can be rather disconcerting for most listeners, because if laid down equally strong, people’s minds tend to get conflicted and lost, unable to discern a clear path and musical lineage of thought.

While Denardo Coleman has now been laying down his own take on drumming for over fifty years, at the time he was but ten, and had been playing for a mere four years, and while sound technically, there always seemed something not quiet right about this album, with the likes of Freddie Hubbard saying that Denardo sounded like a little kid fooling around on the drums, while Miles Davis didn’t even comment on the drumming but focused on the fact that he thought Don Cheery was playing trumpet and not Ornette Colemen … so it’s easy to see (hear) that even master jazz musician’s focus was disjointed, meaning that what most listeners come away with is a sense of defined, though perhaps not strategic layering.

Again, while many insist that the drumming drags the album down, it’s this drumming that stands in stark juxtaposition to the bass of Charlie Haden, and shows why this man has always been at the top of his game, able to step in if things seem to go astray, and this reviewers suggests that he did feel things were going sideways at times, was able to step in, keep impeccable time, even in the middle of a solo, providing support for the drumming of Denardo, and maintaining an interplay with Ornette that carried the music forward.

If I were forced to comment on a single drawback, it would be the lack of drumming experience by Denardo, where while he manages to keep good timing, his backbeat lacks counterpoint, his drummer is nearly matter of fact, he hits the skins using the same volume throughout, having yet to learn or perhaps understand that drumming nuances are learned over years, and like fine wine, developed slowly. Remember, this was Avant Jazz (Avant-garde jazz (also known as avant-jazz) is a style of music and improvisation that combines avant-garde art music and composition with jazz. It originated in the 1950s and developed through the 1960s.), and with such music comes the need for those nuances, not simply with the drumming, but with the cymbal work, along with the use of additional effects, things such as a cowbell, which adds flavor and texture, yet while Denardo can’t seem to keep the melody ever present, there’s a real charm in hearing these two older cats play around what Denardo is laying down in a manner that had one not been aware that a ten year old was holding down the drums, one would instantly point to this characteristic as brilliantly openminded and a structural surprise. And interesting though is that perhaps Ornette and Haden hear Denardo’s drumming as an effect, that Denardo with his inexperienced drums was an instrument creating its own sound like any brass or woodwind, hearing his sounds not as a band member, but simply for what it was, an ethereal vision to be surround with their years of experience, using Denardo as the focal point for the Avant Jazz rising hear.

The Empty Foxhole is a zig zagging experience to say the least, and there is no way I’m going to say that Ornette’s use of the violin, which he only recently began using, and had not perfected, puts this release in the realm of an accidental masterpiece, one that I seldom listen to other than in small doses, yet still enjoy due to the focused interplay and support … three cats moving each other forward and across the finish line.

*** Brilliant unplayed Estate Sale find!

Review by Jenell Kesler


September 26, 2014

First pressing has "BLUE NOTE RECORDS • NEW YORK USA" as label. Looking for it, please contact me if you sell it.


September 29, 2013
This LP came on the NY USA label prior to the Liberty pressing, in mono and stereo.