So why Coleman? Lots of reasons. Coleman is one of the founders of the “free jazz” genre (he prefers the term “Harmolodics”). He is the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for music. Jazz at Lincoln Center has given Coleman his due props, and he’s got a Lifetime Achievement Grammy.
Compared to more mainstream, conservative ideas of what jazz is or should be, Coleman’s raw, abstract approach to jazz was always controversial — one fellow musician reportedly assaulted him after a show -– but his stamp on jazz is unmistakable and undeniable.
“Throughout his entire career, Ornette has always maintained that music is music,” Glenn Max, the producer of contemporary culture for Southbank, explained. “It’s not jazz, or rock, or classical. It’s just music. In an era too often typified by the slavish aping of trends, these are qualities that are increasingly rare.”
The full blog post is at the NEW YORK TIMES.