Ornette Coleman

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Coleman, Ornette,

1930–2015, African-American saxophonist and composer, b. Fort Worth, Tex. Largely self-taught, he began playing the alto saxophone in rhythm-and-blues bands. He later developed an unorthodox and impassioned style of free jazzjazz,
the most significant form of musical expression of African-American culture and arguably the most outstanding contribution the United States has made to the art of music. Origins of Jazz

Jazz developed in the latter part of the 19th cent.
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 characterized by broken rhythms, atonal harmonies, and improvised melody, which made him an enduringly controversial figure in the jazz avant-garde. Coleman made his first real impact in the commercial jazz world after he moved from Los Angeles to New York City in 1959. From then on he played in a number of small groups with various musicians. Beginning in the 1960s, his work with electric bands led to his creation of a jazz-rock fusion he called "harmolodic," combining harmony, movement, and melody. In the mid-1970s he formed his own electric band, Prime Time. Coleman wrote several modernist concert pieces, notably the orchestral Skies of America (1972). In 2007 he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy and that same year he won the Pulitzer Prize for his recording Sound Grammar (2006).


See biographies by B. McRae (1988), J. Litweiler (1992), and P. N. Wilson (1999); study by D. Lee (2006); S. Clarke, dir., Ornette: Made in America (documentary, 1986).

Coleman, Ornette

(1930–  ) jazz musician; born in Fort Worth, Texas. An iconoclastic saxophonist and composer, his experiments in free-form improvisation sharply divided the jazz establishment upon his emergence in 1959. Largely self-taught, he played in rhythm-and-blues bands before settling in Los Angeles in 1951, where he gradually formed a quartet of musicians who were receptive to his unorthodox ideas. He first recorded in 1958 and made his New York debut the following year. He made a series of important recordings in 1959–61 that shaped the direction of jazz for the next twenty years. A sporadic performing artist after the early 1960s, he occasionally led both a conventional jazz quartet and the rock band Prime Time, but turned increasingly to composition, producing several works for symphony orchestra in accordance with his "harmolodic theory."
References in periodicals archive ?
Normality, however bohemian, seems to reign-except that Joan has got hold of an Ornette Coleman record, six years before it would have existed, and shoots up not heroin but her husband's professional-strength roach powder.
He had just released an astonishing double album, Ornette Coleman in All Languages (Caravan of Dreams).
Although it's only twenty-six minutes long, David, Moffett & Ornette: The Ornette Coleman Trio 1966 (Rhapsody) presents three days' worth of that group at and around its 1966 recording date for Who's Crazy, an experimental film with the Living Theater for which Ornette wrote the sound track.
This year's festival offered someanswers to those questions by featuring the most diversified lineup of musicians and styles in recent years, including longtime outsiders like Ornette Coleman and the World Saxophone Quartet.
What it sounds like is Ornette Coleman jamming with James Brown.
At one extreme is Ornette Coleman,who abandoned the acoustic combo of his free jazz experiments and went electric in the mid-1970s, with dramatically different results from Miles Davis's jazz-rock fusions a decade earlier.
This terrific collection, assembled chronologically, moves from Wardell Grey and Dexter Gordon to Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Ben Webster, Davis and the Lighthouse All-Stars, Joe Pass, Ornette Coleman and plenty more.
Drawing on his understanding of the past's best, like the Big Band music of Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus, he forges composed structures that can accommodate the explosive sonic and harmonic languages devised by the experimenters of the previous generation: Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy and Albert Ayler.
I wasn't expecting the second coming of Ornette Coleman.
I know I should have some Ornette Coleman in my collection and this sounds like a good place to start.