8 Apr 2007

Ornette Coleman (1930-2015)

From Composer of the Week, 7:30 pm on 8 April 2007
Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman Photo: Geert Vandepoele CC BY-SA 2.0


Few jazz musicians have excited as much comment or divided opinion as decisively as saxophonist and jazz composer Ornette Coleman. His appearances in New York in 1959 polarised the musical community there more than anyone in an earlier or subsequent debut, and pretty much everyone took a position.

John Lewis, pianist and leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet, liked Coleman's music and described it as 'the only really new thing since the mid-40's innovations of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk.

Monk himself said 'Man, that cat is nuts!'

Over the course of six episodes Norman Meehan surveys the life and music of one of the jazz greats.

Norman Meehan looks at Ornette Coleman's origins and influences as a composer and performer up to his first recordings for Contemporary Records in the late 1950s.

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