The Artistry of… Ornette Coleman

In the many crowns of jazz royalty are many jewels — individuals who left lasting legacies on the history of the beautiful music that is jazz. They’re people who laid foundations for others to build upon and whose body of work is as stunningly valid today as it was the first time it was heard. Audacity, lyricism, lines, riffs and messages. We, the lucky ones, can enjoy and explore the best-of-the-best artistry over and over again.

One of the crown jewels is the great Ornette Coleman. He was a multi-instrumentalist who coined the term “free jazz.” More than simply describing the idea of reaching for new ways to create soundscapes, the term speaks to liberty and risk-taking in improvisation — an element as vibrant in music as in life.

The 1959 recording called The Shape of Jazz to Come is an album title that says all that needs to be said about the jazz explorer. Jazz as sound, ‘scape, and shape. Jazz is sound, ‘scape, and shape.

The Artistry of… is a weekly series that reflects on the passion and essence of an artist. It airs Wednesday evenings on Dinner Jazz with John Devenish.