Jazz Giant Ornette Coleman Dies

Ornette Coleman, a saxophonist whose influence in the jazz world of the last 50 years rivals that of Miles Davis, died June 11 in Manhattan of cardiac arrest, according to the New York Times. He was 85.

Photo: Legacy Recordings
Ornette Coleman, courtesy of Legacy Recordings.

The “free jazz” movement of the second half of the 20th century benefited from Coleman’s breakthroughs, including his concept of  “harmolodics” that dispensed with traditional Western key and chord structures, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Hallmark early recording showcasing the controversial Coleman style include The Music of Ornette Coleman: Something Else!, The Shape of Jazz to Come, Change of the Century and Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation. Among his later notable recordings are Skies of America, the quasi-classical Freedom Symbol suite, and Tone Dialing. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2007.