I just heard the sad news that pioneering jazz hero Ornette Coleman has died of cardiac arrest at age 85. The man left an astonishing legacy of progressive and experimental music that has influenced forward looking artists of all stripes for decades.
More important to me, he’s crafted some of the most innovative and profoundly affecting jazz albums I’ve ever heard. I’ve shared a few key moments from his epic discography below.
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Science Fiction is easily my favorite album of his. Melodic, weird, soulful, and incendiary. This approaches territory even Miles Davis or Sun Ra would have been surprised by.
The Shape Of Jazz To Come is as important as its title implies. This album was the groundbreaking piece that vaulted him into the stratosphere of 20th century jazz.
Finally, here is his avant garde symphony, Skies Of America. It sounds like virtually nothing else out there and dances in a space somewhere between jazz, classical, and beyond.
I’m at work and don’t have time to say anything more. Suffice it to say that one of my heroes has died, but left behind an untouchable legacy. Rest in peace, Ornette.