Rarely does one man transform the way we listen to music, but such a man is Ornette Coleman. Since his debut forty years ago, his music has always caused a sensation. In 1960 he released the album Free Jazz, which inaugurated a whole movement that dominated jazz in the Sixties. In the Seventies he formed the ensemble Prime Time, a unique fusion group that took his orchestral ideal of sound into the electric era. In recent years he has written for classical ensembles, made albums with Jerry Garcia and Pat Metheny, and been showered with honors including a MacArthur grant and induction into Down Beat's Hall of Fame. Yet he does not recline in an elder statesman posture; Coleman's CDs continue to push the envelope and recent concerts include such provocative elements as body-piercing demonstrations and what Down Beat , for a lack of a better term, called 's&m acrobats'.
This is the first book about Ornette to appear in nearly a decade, and is an authoritative account of the man and his music. It gives the most complete explanation of 'harmolodics', Coleman's enigmatic musical theory. It analyzes his compositions for classical as well as jazz ensemble. A narrative discography provides information on all his authorised as well as many bootleg recordings. The author, Peter Niklas Wilson, has also written acclaimed studies of Charlie Parker and Anthony Braxton.
Ornette Coleman, His Life and Music is an entertaining and up-to-date guide to 'the greatest saxophone player alive'.