Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Ornette Coleman RIP

The jazz maestro has died at the age of 85

Ornette Coleman in concert in Rome in 2009

Fri, Jun 12, 2015, 09:41


Jazz great Ornette Coleman died yesterday at 85 years of age from a cardiac arrest at his home in New York. You’ll find the New York Times’ obituary on the musician here and there’s a very astute piece on the saxaphonist’s creative and innovative legacy from Richard Brody in the New Yorker here. I saw Coleman in New York a few years ago after the release of his “Sound Grammar” album and it was quite an experience to catch one of the form’s most imaginative masters at work.

Two great quotes from him from this Guardian piece on his life and times – (1) about the effect “The Shape of Jazz to Come”, his groundbreaking 1959 album, had on his peers: “they were playing changes, they weren’t playing movements. I was trying to play ideas, changes, movements and non-transposed notes”; (2) about his approach to making music: “I didn’t know music was a style and that it had rules and stuff, I thought it was just sound. I thought you had to play to play, and I still think that.”