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Obituary: Ornette Coleman

March 9, 1930 – June 11, 2015

It is 1960, four days before Christmas, and at New York’s A&R Studios a pair of quartets – two drummers, two bassists, two trumpeters, a clarinettist and a saxophonist – have assembled to record what will prove an epochal piece of music.

The musicians present number some of the finest of their generation, including Don Cherry, Freddie Hubbard, Eric Dolphy and Charlie Haden. Their leader (though the afternoon’s session will be characterised by a most democratic musical freedom that seems to border on anarchy), Ornette Coleman, has already proven himself a visionary within the post-bop landscape, and the titles of the albums he had recorded, for Contemporary and then Atlantic records, spell out a questing, restless spirit: Something Else!!!!, Tomorrow Is The Question!, This Is Our Music and The Shape Of Jazz To Come.


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