This Is His Music


“The jazz world came out last week to mourn the loss of Ornette Coleman, the  saxophonist, band leader, and composer, who died on Thursday at the age of 85. Coleman was lauded as a rule-breaker and visionary who, despite initially hostile reactions from many of his peers, moved jazz past bebop conventions and into the ‘free’ explorations of the 1960s and beyond. Without Coleman, John Coltrane’s final years might have sounded very different, as would Miles Davis’ electric period, and the entire free-improvisation world down to today. … What helped make Coleman more broadly significant is that his revolution radiated beyond the boundaries of jazz to young seekers through the decades in every musical form. Musicians are widely aware of this, as reflected in the list of performers at a tribute concert in Brooklyn in 2014 that would turn out to be his last performance, who included Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Nels Cline of Wilco, members of Morocco’s Master Musicians of Jajouka, and even Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But non­–jazz listeners tend to be less cognizant of it. …”
Slate (Video)

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