Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman was an American jazz saxophonist, trumpeter, violinist, and composer.
24 Facts About Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman was best known as a principal founder of the free jazz genre, a term derived from his 1960 album Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation.
Ornette Coleman's pioneering works often abandoned the harmony-based composition, tonality, chord changes, and fixed rhythm found in earlier jazz idioms.
Ornette Coleman explored symphonic compositions with his 1972 album Skies of America, featuring the London Symphony Orchestra.
Ornette Coleman was born on March 9,1930, in Fort Worth, Texas, where he was raised.
Ornette Coleman switched to alto saxophone, which remained his primary instrument, first playing it in New Orleans after the Baton Rouge incident.
Ornette Coleman then joined the band of Pee Wee Crayton and traveled with them to Los Angeles.
Ornette Coleman worked at various jobs, including as an elevator operator, while pursuing his music career.
When French philosopher Jacques Derrida interviewed him, Ornette Coleman said that "Lonely Woman" from the album resulted from seeing a rich woman who was in such solitude.
Ornette Coleman 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.
In 1960, Ornette Coleman recorded Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation, which featured a double quartet, including Don Cherry and Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet, Haden and LaFaro on bass, and both Higgins and Blackwell on drums.
Ornette Coleman extended the sound of his music, introducing string players and started playing trumpet and violin, which he taught himself to play left-handed.
Ornette Coleman had little conventional musical technique and used the instruments to make large, unrestrained gestures.
Ornette Coleman signed with Blue Note and recorded At the Golden Circle Stockholm.
In 1966, he recorded The Empty Foxhole with his son, Denardo Ornette Coleman, who was ten years old.
Ornette Coleman's technique was unrefined but enthusiastic, owing more to pulse-oriented free jazz drummers like Sunny Murray than to bebop drummers.
Ornette Coleman became his father's primary drummer in the late 1970s.
On February 29,1968, in a group with Haden, Ed Blackwell, and David Izenzon Ornette Coleman performed live with Yoko Ono at Albert Hall.
The 1976 funk album Dancing in Your Head, Ornette Coleman's first recording with the group which later became known as Prime Time, prominently featured electric guitars.
In 1991, Ornette Coleman played on the soundtrack for David Cronenberg's film Naked Lunch; the orchestra was conducted by Howard Shore.
Ornette Coleman released four records in 1995 and 1996, and for the first time in many years worked regularly with piano players.
Jazz pianist Joanne Brackeen stated in an interview with Marian McPartland that Ornette Coleman mentored her and gave her music lessons.
Ornette Coleman died of a cardiac arrest at the age of 85 in New York City on June 11,2015.
Ornette Coleman's funeral was a three-hour event with performances and speeches by several of his collaborators and contemporaries.