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Ornette Coleman (alto sax), Don Cherry (pocket trumpet), Charlie Haden (bass) and Billy Higgins (drums). From the album Change of the Century (1960).

Coleman created a philosophy he named “harmolodics” in which melody, harmony and rhythm have the same importance. Harmolodics seek to liberate musical compositions from any tonal center by providing a harmonic progression independence from tension and liberation, that is, atonality. The result is that music obtains an instantly open expression without being restricted by tonal limitations, rhythmic predetermination or harmonic norms.

Ornette Coleman


In the 1980s he recorded albums, such as Virgin Beauty and Of Human Feelings, interpreting with his group Prime Time free funk, a combination of loose funk rhythms and free improvisation. In 1985 he collaborated with Pat Metheny on his album Song X with excellent critical acceptance. From then on he continued playing and recording in different contexts and in 2006 he published his album Sound Grammar with his last quartet. Ornette Coleman has influenced almost every modern saxophonist and jazz musician of the next generation. He died in 2005 of cardiac arrest at 85 years of age in New York.

Don Cherry


The theme is played by Coleman and Cherry in unison and is so funny it could have been composed for children. Then the rhythm of the composition becomes much faster and at once Coleman offers an intense and complex discourse with many changes in an accelerated and stimulating melodic line. Haden is solid as a rock at all times and Higgins’ accents are as powerful as a hurricane. After that, Cherry makes an intricate and unrestrained solo playing as if there was no tomorrow, although sometimes moderates his pace a little. Next the group gets into a brief passage of collective improvisation and Coleman stays playing a few more phrases before the re-exposure of the theme.


© Atlantic Records


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