Ornette Coleman plays his alto saxophone at The Hague, 1994
March 9, 1930|
Fort Worth, Texas, United States
June 11, 2015 (aged 85)|
New York City, United States
Ornette Coleman (March 9, 1930 – June 11, 2015) was an American jazz musician. He plays the saxophone, violin and trumpet. He is also a composer. He was one of the people that helped make a new jazz style called free jazz, in the 1960s. Coleman's music is also like blues music. His album Sound Grammar won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for music.
Early career[change | change source]
Coleman was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He began playing R&B and bebop music, at first on the tenor saxophone. He wanted to leave his home town so he got a job in 1949 with a traveling show. Then he played with touring R&B shows. In Baton Rouge, he was attacked and his saxophone was destroyed. After that he changed to the alto saxophone, and that is still the instrument he usually plays. He joined a band and traveled with them to Los Angeles, in California. He worked at different jobs while still trying to be successful as a musician.
From the start, Coleman played his music differently to other musicians. Some Los Angeles jazz musicians thought he was playing out of tune. In 1958 Coleman made a record called Something Else!!!!: The Music of Ornette Coleman. Other musicians like Don Cherry, Billy Higgins, Don Payne and Walter Norris also played on the record.
The Shape of Jazz to Come[change | change source]
Coleman was very busy in 1959. His made a record called Tomorrow Is the Question!. He played on this ecord with a quartet. He did not play with a piano player. He started working with a record label called Atlantic Records. He made a record called The Shape of Jazz to Come in 1959. A music critic called Steve Huey said it was a very important jazz record. The album was different from other jazz music.
Coleman often played a plastic saxophone. He had first bought a plastic one in Los Angeles in 1954 because he could not afford a metal one. He did not like the sound of the plastic saxophone at first. Now he plays a metal saxophone.
Free Jazz[change | change source]
In 1960, Coleman made a record called Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation. It was nearly 40 minutes long. It is one of the longest jazz performances on a record. It was an important record in jazz and now there is a jazz style called free jazz.
Death[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- allmusic Biography
- Spellman, A. B. (1985 originally 1966). Four Lives in the Bebop Business. Limelight. pp. 98–101. ISBN 0-87910-042-7. Check date values in:
- Huey, Steve. "The Shape of Jazz To Come".
- "Ornette Coleman biography on Europe Jazz Network".
- Rodriguez, Juan (June 20, 2009). "Ornette Coleman, jazz's free spirit". The Montreal Gazette. The Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
- Litweiler p.31
- "Ornette Coleman". Last.fm Ltd. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
- Ratliff, Ben (June 11, 2015). "Ornette Coleman, Jazz Innovator, Dies at 85". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved June 11, 2015.