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Ornette Coleman Dies In New York

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Ornette Coleman Dies In New York

Post by Backstage on Fri Jun 12, 2015 12:16 pm

Jazz Star Ornette Coleman Dies In New York

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Jazz Star Ornette Coleman Dies In New York

Ornette Coleman, whose 1959 album The Shape Of Jazz To Come is considered one of the genre's most groundbreaking, has died.

The 85-year-old's death was confirmed by his publicist, Ken Weinstein.

Coleman was born and raised in Texas but died in New York, where he spent much of his career.

A representative for the family said the cause of death was cardiac arrest.

The self-taught musician polarised the jazz world with his unconventional "free jazz" before coming to be regarded as an avant garde genius.

Best known as an alto saxophonist, Coleman cast aside traditional notions that a musician needed to stay within chord progressions and instead pursued solos that detractors considered chaotic but gradually became mainstream in jazz and rock.

Coleman said that the free form of solos came spontaneously to him, as he believed that jazz playing should feel like any natural human activity.

"I think jazz should express more kinds of feelings than it has up to now," he said at the time.

The Shape Of Jazz To Come stunned the jazz world - with leading artists including Miles Davis among the critics - through its lack of harmonic convention as well as the absence of any guitar or piano to accompany him.

The album featured the intense song Lonely Woman, written by Coleman about a high-society shopper he spotted when he was working at a Los Angeles department store, which went on to become a standard among jazz musicians.

Coleman's album Sound Grammar received the 2007 Pulitzer prize for music.

Coleman followed up the next year with the album The Change Of The Century, recorded in young-spirited California rather than one of the more established jazz capitals.

Coleman, who eventually headed to New York, grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, where he said that he originally thought that a saxophone was a toy when he saw one.

His mother gave him his first saxophone as a gift after Coleman had helped save up money by shining shoes.

His survivors include his son Denardo Coleman, a prominent jazz drummer who often recorded with his father.
(Sky News)
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