Jazz innovator Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman

March 9, 1930, Fort Worth, TX ~ June 11, 2015, Manhattan, NY

“The first time I saw a guy play a saxophone, I didn't know what it was. And someone told me it was a saxophone. So I asked my mother, and she told me that if I go out and make money I could buy myself one. So I made a shoeshine box and went on the streets smelling feet. Until one day she told me ‘Look under the bed.’ It took three or four years and I took it out and played it.” ~ Ornette Coleman

Mr. Coleman widened the options in jazz, and helped change its course. Partly through his example in the late 1950s and early ’60s, jazz became less beholden to the rules of harmony and rhythm, and gained more distance from the American songbook repertory. His own music, then and later, became a new form of highly informed folk song: deceptively simple melodies for small groups with an intuitive, collective language, and a strategy for playing without preconceived chord sequences. ~ New York Times: Ornette Coleman Obituary ~ June 11, 2015 © New York Times

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One of the most important (and controversial) innovators of the jazz avant-garde, Ornette Coleman gained both loyal followers and lifelong detractors when he seemed to burst on the scene in 1959 fully formed. ~ Allmusic: Ornette Coleman ~ retrieved June 3, 2013 © Allmusic

Ornette Coleman ~ Awarded a 2007 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ornette Coleman ~ The Shape Of Jazz To Come (1959) ~ Ranked #3 Jazzwise 100 Jazz Albums That Shook The World in 2006 ~ What this album did in fact contain and represent was a completely different and fresh set of musical signposts within the jazz vernacular, both in terms of the stunningly bright melodic patterns Ornette crystallised in his vibrant and beautiful compositions and in his off-the-wall improvisatory approach. ~ 2006 © Jazzwise

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