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 the life and music of the pioneering free jazz composer, alto saxophonist and musical philosopher, Ornette Coleman. Audio
Norman Meehan looks at Ornette Coleman's ground-breaking quartet and their recordings for Atlantic in the early 1960s. Audio
Norman Meehan looks at Coleman's remarkable trio with Charles Moffett (drums) and David Izensen (dbass) which he led during the second half of the 1960s, as well as recording numerous film sound… Audio
Norman Meehan looks at Coleman's work during the 1970s and 1980s with his group Prime Time, which fused rock, rhythm and blues and jazz into an exuberant and unique style that marked a dramatic… Audio
Norman Meehan looks at Coleman's interest in writing for chamber groups and orchestras. This work reached an apotheosis with his orchestral tone poem The Skies of America. This programme examines that… Audio
Norman Meehan looks at Ornette Coleman's style which has influenced many musicians in multiple genres. This programme examines his compositional techniques and discusses some of the many musicians he… Audio