Ornette Coleman

1930 (Fort Worth, Tex.) – 2015 (New York)

Coleman’s restlessly innovative approach to structure and harmonics, and penchant for unorthodox performance situations, has strongly influenced younger musicians in and beyond the field of jazz. Cherry, Higgins and Haden (a lifelong friend — Coleman saw collaboration and friendship as practically the same) joined him as early and key partners. Lewis, Bley, Bernstein and Thomson all supported his career. Dolphy, Hubbard, Redman, Jones, McLean and Sanders were among musicians who played with him; Ono, Smith, Reed and Burroughs were accomplices further afield. Ayler was a good friend, while Roach (Coleman said) punched him in the mouth.

Ornette Coleman knew…