I remember listening to Ornette Coleman many years ago and deciding, simply, that it wasn’t for me. I didn’t get it. In a lot of instances I still don’t — but I like it a lot better now.
Here is the start of a New York Times profile of Coleman by Ben Ratliff:
THE alto saxophonist and composer Ornette Coleman, one of the last of the truly imposing figures from a generation of jazz players that was full of them, seldom talks about other people’s music. People generally want to ask him about his own, and that becomes the subject he addresses. Or half-addresses: what he’s really focused on is a set of interrelated questions about music, religion and the nature of being. Sometimes he can seem indirect, or sentimental, or thoroughly confusing. Other times he sounds like one of the world’s killer aphorists. (Read More…)
The clip below describes what Coleman was doing. The upshot is that he went beyond what even Charlie Parker and the other giants of bebop did in changing how the music is played. I guess every revolution is played out in multiple parts.
Here is the second part of the Coleman profile.
(Home page photo: Andy Newcombe)