RIFFS 2015


Published 06.11.2015
The Liberator
One Truly Waiin' Cat Takes His Leave of Us Mere Mortals

Ornette Coleman, a saxophonist who rewrote the rules of jazz has laid aside his big, bold instrument and, at age 85, swung way up and out of here. His Reedship blew the ballast on his ticker and swooped out of Gotham on the morning of June 11, 2015.

Reknown for his approach to music as a liberating force he is generally considered the father of the Free Jazz movement. He tossed out the accepted notions of harmony and rhythm, tonality and structure. He is quoted as saying,"'We don't have to do it that way, we can take an improvisation that tells its own kind of story, that elapses according to the freedom of the song."

And this self taught cat cleaned up in the awards department. Dig the list:


• the Pulitzer Prize
• the Japanese Praemium Imperiale
• two Guggenheims
• a MacArthur grant
• honorary doctorates
• National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master honor.


It was Ornette Coleman and Dizzy Gillespie that lead the large charge at His Lordship's Memorial Service in 1961. Can you imagine the beautiful aggitation of the air in that room that night!

Adios, Sweet Swingin' Ornette!