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Thursday, 11 June 2015

Ornette Coleman dies at 85

Ornette Coleman, the alto saxophonist and one of the most innovative composers and performers in jazz history, died on Thursday morning (11-6-15) in Manhattan at age 85.

Coleman's influence on jazz music has been massive. He stirred up the jazz scene starting in the late Fifties, setting aside traditional harmonic and rhythmic rules in favor of an avant-garde approach filled with unorthodox solos and musical structures. His debut studio album, Something Else!!!! in 1958, and "The Shape of Jazz to Come" were breakthroughs in the development of free and avant-garde jazz.

One of only few Northern appearances was with Prime Time – this was his heavy rock phase with two drummers, electric basses and guitars, seen here at the Sheffield Jazz Festival, Crucible Theatre in Sheffield 3 June 1981 (on the same bill was the Abdullah Ibrahim Quartet - tickets cost £3.50!)


The sheer volume of the music virtually lifted you out of your seat and quite a few in the audience walked out after about five minutes but for me it was an evening of thrilling, driving music.

The BBC obituary is here

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-33095575



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