Saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Ornette Coleman, along with pianist Cecil Taylor, was one of the founding forces of the Free Jazz movement which took the music world by storm in the 1950s and 60s. His brilliance as an instrumentalist at first positioned him as a polarizing figure, but eventually brought him recognition as an American original and international jazz treasure.
Jazz drummer Michael Stephans explores the personal challenges Coleman faced, the music he created from one decade to the next, and the incredibly positive attitude he maintained in the face of so much negativity throughout his life. Revealing how Coleman became an iconic, enigmatic figure not only in jazz, but in much of contemporary improvisational music, Stephans weaves together analysis of Coleman’s recordings with interviews of those who knew Coleman best.
Experiencing Ornette Coleman: A Listener's Companion encourages both jazz devotees and readers with little knowledge of the music to trace the inspirational journey of this now-seminal figure from his early years through the beginnings of the new millennium. Along the way, readers will learn about the music and motivations of the free jazz movement while experiencing an utterly human story of artistic genius and expression.
About the Author
Michael Stephans is a well-known and respected jazz drummer who has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Bennie Maupin, Pharoah Sanders, Dave Liebman, Phil Woods, Bob Brookmeyer, Uri Caine, Alan Broadbent, John Patitucci, Scott Colley, Bob Dorough, and many others. He holds a doctorate in education and master’s degrees in English and education. He teaches writing at Bloomsburg University is the author of Experiencing Jazz: A Listener’s Companion (Scarecrow Press 2013).
Table of Contents
Introduction: Opening the Door. . .
1.Dancing in Your Head
2.Ramblin’: The First Quartets
3.Sound Gravitations: The Trios
4.Sounds and Forms: The Path to Skies of America
5.Feet Music: From Joujouka to Prime Time
6.Round Trip: Late Quartets and Other Ensembles
Intermezzo: Cherry and Charlie
7.Don Cherry: A Path to the Global Village
8.Charlie Haden: Ramblin’ Boy
9.In All Languages: Kudos, Ornette-isms, and Meditations
Afterword: Ears . . . Mind . . . Heart
Appendix A: Speaking with Sonny Rollins about Ornette Coleman
Appendix B: Surfing the Jazz Net: Selected Web Resources