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John H. Armwood Jazz History Lecture Nashville's Cheekwood Arts Center 1989

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Santa Barbara Independent Ornette Coleman Quartet Plays UCSB

The Santa Barbara Independent Ornette Coleman Quartet Plays UCSB

From its inception, jazz has been associated with musical innovation. Ever since the juke joint cutting contests of the early 20th century encouraged players to compete for audience approval with surprising and unexpected riffs and rhythms, the music has carried the burden of making it new with refreshing panache and style. But for saxophonist Ornette Coleman, the adventure of revising previous genres and experimenting with sound has taken on a greater importance than for nearly any comparably important figure in the history of the music. No one, not even his celebrated contemporary John Coltrane, has done more to expand the sonic vocabulary of jazz or to extol the value of innovative thinking in the service of immediacy and communication. It’s Coleman’s peculiar combination of relentless searching for new sounds and total dedication to the primary task of accessing emotion that gives his music its inimitable profile. It’s not just that Coleman doesn’t sound like anyone else—it’s that he does it in order to discover the truth of his experience through his own journey.

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