Claude Lakey Woodwinds


Remembering Ornette Coleman

Posted by Nathan Nutter at  | 0 comments

With all the commotion of launching our contest, we didn't have time to reflect on a musical icon the world lost yesterday: "Free Jazz" innovator Ornette Coleman was 85.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, by Coleman emerged onto the existing jazz and bebop scene with an unorthodox style and approach to harmony and improvisation, often not conforming to chord structures and progressions and instead heavily relying on playing by ear.

Initially, Coleman struggled to find other like-minded players, but he would soon find his circle of musicians and begin carving a new path. He is now mentioned right alongside John Coltrane as the two major innovators in this era of jazz.

Following the notable success and acclaim of his 1959 album "Tomorrow Is The Question," Coleman's next milestone was his career and genre defining album "Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation."

The album was rife with groundbreaking rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic nuance and complexity that sparked the emergence of a new genre of that resonated throughout the following decades of jazz music.

The many years following his first major releases Coleman continued to collaborate and elaborate on the genre that he unintentionally created, experimenting with a wide variety of electronic and acoustic instruments and artists, and would be awarded numerous awards and honorary degrees for his contributions to the genre. He received the Miles Davis award in 2009 at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Michigan in 2010.


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