Ornette Coleman Birthday Broadcast

Happy birthday, Ornette Coleman! Join WKCR 89.9 FM New York City (Columbia University’s non-commercial student-run radio station) as they honor Ornette Coleman by playing 24 hours of his music all day Thursday, March 9th.

Ornette

Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman (March 9, 1930 – June 11, 2015) was an American jazz saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter and composer. Born and raised in Fort Worth, TX, he was one of the major innovators of the free jazz movement of the 1960s, a term he invented with the name of a 1961 album. From the beginning of his career, Coleman’s music and playing were largely 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 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.

Coleman originally intended “Free Jazz” as simply an album title, but his growing reputation placed him at the forefront of jazz innovation, and free jazz was soon considered a new genre, though he has expressed discomfort with the term, as his music contains a considerable amount of composition. Coleman’s melodic material, while skeletal, strongly recalls the melodies that Charlie Parker wrote over standard harmonies, and in general, the music is closer to the bebop that came before it than is sometimes popularly imagined.

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After the Atlantic period and into the early part of the 1970s, Coleman’s music became more angular and engaged fully with the jazz avant-garde which had developed in part around his innovations. The mid-1990s saw a flurry of activity from Coleman: he released four records in 1995 and 1996, and for the first time in many years worked regularly with piano players.

In September 2006 he released a live album titled Sound Grammar with his newest quartet. This was his first album of new material in ten years and was recorded in Germany in 2005. It won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for music, Coleman being only the second artist to win the award.

Celebrate Ornette

Celebrate Ornette – SONG X RECORDS

A deluxe, limited edition box set paying tribute to the legendary Ornette Coleman. The set includes two dozen performances from some of modern music’s most iconoclastic artists, all centered on the visionary saxophonist/composer/bandleader/thinker’s incomparable legacy of music, ideas, and revolutionary spirit.

This supreme set includes all 24 performances from the two events, Ornette’s last performance at the “Celebrate Brooklyn” show and his Memorial at Riverside Church. The limited edition of only 1600 hand numbered sets boasts 4 LP’s, and the Deluxe 5 Disc Gatefold which is composed of 2 DVDs, 3 CDs, an exclusive black and white Ornette poster and a 26-page collector’s booklet with extensive liner notes by James Blood Ulmer, John Snyder, James Jordan, and Denardo Coleman. The albums are pressed on 128-gram vinyl at the legendary United Record Pressing in Nashville, Tennessee.

As a special bonus in the Gatefold, an original Ornette Coleman 10-page linen Memorial Program, signed by Denardo Coleman, is also included.

Featuring: Master Musicians Of Jajouka, Bill Laswell, Branford Marsalis, Bruce Hornsby, Cecil Taylor, David Murray, Flea, Geri Allen, Henry Threadgill, Jack Dejonette, James Blood Ulmer, Jason Moran, Joe Lovano, John Zorn, Karl Berger, Laurie Anderson, Nels Cline, Patti Smith, Pharoah Sanders, Ravi Coltrane, Savion Glover, Sonny Rollins, Thurston Moore, Yoko Ono.

Dancing In Your Head – Ornette Coleman

There was a period of time (1977-1981) where I would take the Metro North train into New York City for an all day record shopping excursion. Armed with my proverbial list of recordings I sought the albums I had to have in my collection. I was heavily influenced by music journalists from the New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, the Village Voice and Downbeat. They helped shape my listening tastes. I was exposed to sounds and textures I would never have discovered on my own.

The greatest treasure I purchased during that time period was “Dancing In Your Head” by Ornette Coleman. I was transfigured by the energy of Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time nucleus. Little did I realize until recently that William S. Burroughs was in the studio when this recording took place.

Ornette Coleman celebrated his 85th birthday on Monday March 9th. We are blessed to have him among us.