A Salute to Ornette Coleman

By: Gaiyaiobi Xzandis-Zaevan

Initially when I was younger and first heard Ornette Coleman, I was a bit put off by the seemingly discordant melodic approach he brought to the jazz music scene.  However, with age I have come to appreciate his music more.  As well as learning about his life, I notice that his entire upbringing was a prelude to his life of jazz improvisation on a new scale.

Ornette Coleman’s style was received with high degrees of hostility from people.  There is symbolism residing in his life, his musical style, and the variant hostile responses to which he had been subjected to: being dismissed by well known artists at the time when he attempted to get hired for a gig, or physically attacked by self-proclaimed “pure artists” and music critics.  Nevertheless, Ornette persisted and eventually his approach had a surprising impact on the jazz movement, past and present.  He is now known as the man who set jazz free.

Ladies & gentlemen may we all take a moment to salute a man unafraid to lead a movement; to become a part of history unknowingly doing what he loved. A man with strong convictions and a jazz legend … Ornette Coleman (1930 – 2015)


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