Thursday, July 2, 2015

Obituary: Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman
12" x 16", oil on canvas paper, 2015
Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman died last month (June 11) in New York City. He was 85 years old. Coleman's legacy is an enormous discography and the concept of free jazz, which was also the title of one of his earlier recordings. I've made a number of Coleman paintings over the years, some belong to the best the archive has to offer. He is included again this year, established months before he died. NPR critic Kevin Whitehead reviewed Coleman's newest record (which turned out to be his last) New Vocabulary on February 10th this year. The album was recorded in 2009 with Jordan McClean and Amir Ziv and released on System Dialing Records in 2014. In the 2000s Coleman was not very active any more but this record sounds as fresh as his early 1960s recordings. The song in the top 100 is Baby Food, but likely others will follow as I've played many of his records (and YouTube videos) since. With the passing of Coleman the world has lost one of the most influential jazz musicians and one of the top 100 musicians in my 33 years of counting.

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