Saxophonist/composer Ornette Coleman passed away yesterday at age 85. He was never exactly a household name, but he was one of the most vital musical innovators (of any musical category) of the past sixty years.
His musical approach was so unheard-of at the time (1950s/60s), most people just said he couldn't play, or thought he was playing off key, etc. His improvisational approach was much more intuitive than that of almost any other jazz player of the era. Or as Ornette Coleman himself put it:
“No one has to learn to spell to talk, right?...Music is the same way. If you can play it and bypass all the rest of the things, you're still doing as great as someone that has spent 40 years trying to find out how to do that.”
During the 1950s, when Bebop was still considered “cutting edge,” Ornette Coleman described it as:
“They were playing changes. They weren't playing movements. I was trying to play ideas, changes, movements and non-transposed notes.”
Labels: Ornette Coleman