Ken Nordine – Colors
(Asphodel – 2000)
by Matthew S. Robinson
Originally intended as a nine-part series of commercials for a paint company, Ken Nordine’s 1967 classic is still a brilliant and, um- colorful trip through the big crayon box. Re-released with ten new 90 second shades, Colors (the American spelling, thank you!) gives form and flesh to a J. Crew catalog full of familiar but perhaps underappreciated tones. Though the usual suspects such as Yellow, Brown and Black are in revue, Nordine also reaches out to such colorfully entitled tints as Ecru, Chartreuse, Azure, Muddy, Russet, Sepia and Nutria.
From fat Burgundy to cautious Beige, Nordine breathes baritoned life into hues that often pass our eyes but which can now color our ears as well. In the process of encouraging an otherwise drab Olive, Nordine explains the regality of Purple and captures the neutrality of Amber. While “Maroon” is simply a reading of a rhyming dictionary, “Blue” is a self-descriptive swing and “Black” is full of dark simile. Despite his best efforts, however, even the creator of Word Jazz’ can not find a rhyme for “Orange” though he has fun trying!
c. 2001, M. S. Robinson, ARR