Ornette Coleman, avant garde jazz pioneer, dead at 85

Sad news this morning. Less than a year after his longtime bassist Charlie Haden passed away, jazz giant Ornette Coleman has died. He was 85. A composer, innovator, leader and alto-saxophonist, Coleman coined and defined the term “free jazz”, stunning the music world in 1959-60 with a rapid succession of LP’s recorded by Atlantic, which included The Shape Of Jazz To Come, Change Of The Century, This Is Our Music and Free Jazz. All of these have come to be regarded as essential works in the jazz canon.


Coleman influenced a generation of musicians in the 1960’s, and far beyond. John Zorn’s legendary Masada quartet of the 1990’s was patterned after the Ornette Coleman Quartet. He will be missed, and remembered.

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