"Free Jazz" and Ornette Coleman
06-21-2015, 04:25 AM, (This post was last modified: 06-21-2015, 06:51 AM by Miguel.)
#1
"Free Jazz" and Ornette Coleman
This jazz musician, who was born in Fort Worth, TX, recently passed away:

Quote:Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman (March 9, 1930 – June 11, 2015) was an American jazz saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter and composer. He was one of the major innovators of the free jazz movement of the 1960s, a term he invented with the name of an album. Coleman's timbre was easily recognized: his keening, crying sound drew heavily on blues music. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (the so-called "genius grant") in 1994. His album Sound Grammar received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for music.

...After a show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he was assaulted and his saxophone was destroyed.[6]

He switched to alto saxophone, which remained his primary instrument, first playing it in New Orleans after the Baton Rouge incident. He then joined the band of Pee Wee Crayton and travelled with them to Los Angeles. He worked at various jobs, including as an elevator operator, while continuing to pursue his musical career.

From the beginning of his career, Coleman's music and playing were in many ways unorthodox. His approach to harmony and chord progression was far less rigid than that of bebop performers; he was increasingly interested in playing what he heard rather than fitting it into predetermined chorus-structures and harmonies. His raw, highly vocalized sound and penchant for playing "in the cracks" of the scale led many Los Angeles jazz musicians to regard Coleman's playing as out-of-tune. He sometimes had difficulty finding like-minded musicians with whom to perform.

...1959 was a notably productive year for Coleman. His last release on Contemporary was Tomorrow Is the Question!, a quartet album, with Shelly Manne on drums, and excluding the piano, which he would not use again until the 1990s. Next Coleman brought double bassist Charlie Haden – one of a handful of his most important collaborators – into a regular group with Cherry and Higgins. (All four had played with Paul Bley the previous year.)

He signed a multi-album contract with Atlantic Records who released The Shape of Jazz to Come in 1959. It was, according to critic Steve Huey, "a watershed event in the genesis of avant-garde jazz, profoundly steering its future course and throwing down a gauntlet that some still haven't come to grips with."[8] While definitely – if somewhat loosely – blues-based and often quite melodic, the album's compositions were considered at that time harmonically unusual and unstructured. Some musicians and critics saw Coleman as an iconoclast; others, including conductor Leonard Bernstein and composer Virgil Thomson regarded him as a genius and an innovator.

...Trumpeter Miles Davis famously declared Coleman was "all screwed up inside",[10] although Davis later recanted this comment and became a proponent of Coleman's musical innovations.[11] Roy Eldridge stated, "I'd listened to him all kinds of ways. I listened to him high and I listened to him cold sober. I even played with him. I think he's jiving baby."[12]

Coleman's unique early sound was due in part to his use of a plastic saxophone. He had first bought a plastic horn in Los Angeles in 1954 because he was unable to afford a metal saxophone, though he didn't like the sound of the plastic instrument at first.[13] Coleman later claimed that it sounded drier, without the pinging sound of metal. In later years, he played a metal saxophone.[14]

...In 1960, Coleman recorded Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation, which featured a double quartet, including Cherry and Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet, Haden and LaFaro on bass, and both Higgins and Blackwell on drums. The record was recorded in stereo, with a reed/brass/bass/drums quartet isolated in each stereo channel. Free Jazz was, at nearly 40 minutes, the lengthiest recorded continuous jazz performance to date, and was instantly one of Coleman's most controversial albums. The music features a regular but complex pulse, one drummer playing "straight" while the other played double-time; the thematic material is a series of brief, dissonant fanfares. As is conventional in jazz, there are a series of solo features for each member of the band, but the other soloists are free to chime in as they wish, producing some extraordinary passages of collective improvisation by the full octet. In the January 18, 1962 issue of Down Beat magazine, in a special review titled "Double View of a Double Quartet," Pete Welding awarded the album Five Stars while John A. Tynan rated it No Stars.

[video=youtube] Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation[/video]
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