Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman (March 9, 1930 – June 11, 2015) was an American jazz saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter, and composer. He was one of the major innovators of the free jazz movement of the 1960s, a term he invented with the name of his 1961 album. His "Broadway Blues" has become a standard and has been cited as a key work in the free jazz movement. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1994. His album Sound Grammar received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for music.
Links To Peel
When Melody Maker played Peel an Ornette Coleman track in the paper's New Blind Date feature in September 1968, JP mentioned that he had attended Coleman's concert held at the Royal Albert Hall, which had included some classical music compositions by Coleman as well as jazz improvisations by his group. It was promoted as a classical concert in order to get around Musicans' Union restrictions on visits by American jazz and pop musicians, and also featured a guest appearance by Yoko Ono. The DJ regretted that he was unable to appreciate Coleman's records, even though the saxophonist was one of the few jazz musicians rated by the underground audience who read International Times and listened to Peel's early shows. His Night Ride producer John Muir also produced BBC radio series such as Jazz Now, Jazz Workshop, and Jazz In Britain, which featured British musicians inspired by the likes of Coleman, John Coltrane, Albert Ayler and Archie Shepp; but the DJ himself didn't show much interest in avant-garde jazz, even if he later revised his opinion of Ornette Coleman and played a few tracks by the musician in the 1990s and 2000s.
Peel remarked on his March 2001 (FSK) show that he was not much of a jazz fan, but that in his teenage years he was into trad jazz, although modern jazz passed him by except for the work of one or two people including Ornette Coleman. Apparently, Captain Beefheart introduced the DJ to Coleman's music and named him as an influence (although Peel would also have read about Coleman, then a controversial figure in the jazz world, in Melody Maker). Peel also tried to get Ornette to do a session for his show on BBC Radio One and on his 25 April 2001 show, he mentioned running into problems when he tried to book Ornette, as one of the Sessions That Never Happened:
'We tried to book Ornette Coleman in for a session but got tangled up in lawyers in New York or something...he wasn't here for very long...we wanted to get Sonny Rollins in while we were at it...we just ran into a wall of lawyers in New York City.'
- 02 July 1986: The Disguise (LP - Something Else!!!!) Contemporary
- 01 April 1994: ‘Invisible (CD - Something Else!!!!)' (Contemporary)
- 05 August 1994: Invisible (CD - Something Else!!!! ) Contemporary Records
- 20 May 1999: Moon Inhabitants (LP: The Art Of The Improvisers) Atlantic
- March 2001 (FSK): Moon Inhabitants (LP - The Art Of The Improvisers) Atlantic