18 April 2007

Ornette Coleman

Photograph © Lee Friedlander for The New York Times

This is a portrait of composer and muscian Ornette Colemen who just won the Pulitzer Prize for composition. Here is the mention from The New York Times (16 April 07): "Mr. Coleman, the 77-year-old jazz saxophonist and composer, won for 'Sound Grammar,' a live album by his most recent quartet, recorded in 2005. Elastic and bracing, with two acoustic basses and much collective improvisation, the music harks back to the 1960s records that made him famous. 'I’m tearing and I’m surprised and happy — and I’m glad I’m an American,' he said. 'And I’m glad to be a human being who’s a part of making American qualities more eternal.'" More from The Times and npr.

This new album is really terrific - a live recording from 2005. But Coleman has been making wild, frenetic, and soulful music since the late 1950s and is is truly wonderful to see him, a true innovator, recognized for his contributions. You can find a nice essay on Coleman (a bit dated but still worth reading) by the great jazz critic Francis Davis reprinted here.

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