REFLECTING THE SCOPE of his influence, artists from right across the music spectrum have paid tribute to Ornette Coleman who died yesterday (June 11). The alto sax player, who passed away in New York aged 85 after suffering a cardiac arrest, was not only hugely important within the development of jazz but, as examined in MOJO’s tribute to the musical pioneer, his influence could be heard “in post-punk, noise, drone, metal and multiple forms of free music from the past 40 years”.
“Even beyond music, beyond jazz, people were touched by Ornette.”
Unsurprisingly then, those paying tribute to Coleman crossed many genres, with Caribou’s Dan Snaith, St Vincent’s Annie Clark and Blur’s Graham Coxon among those taking to social media to mark his passing, with the latter writing “Farewell Ornette! Thank you. X”
Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello also paid tribute, calling Coleman a “titian… who created, explored, defined and perfected free jazz”, while Red Hot Chili Peppers' bassist Flea simply declared: “Ornette Coleman is the most beautiful man that ever lived.”
Actor Wendell Pierce, who played Bunk Moreland in The Wire and jazz trombonist Antoine Batiste in Treme, added his tribute saying, “The Shape Of Jazz To Come has gone. Rest in Peace. Be Free... Ornette Coleman”, while fellow actor Elijah Wood called the saxophonist a “pioneer and legend”.
Within the jazz word itself there plenty of tributes, with composer and fellow saxophonist Kamasi Washington encapsulating Coleman’s impact, telling Billboard that “even beyond music, beyond jazz, people were touched by Ornette because he expressed himself without fear.”
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