Ornette Coleman

When I made the switch from vinyl to cd's in the late eighties, one of the first albums I bought was the Metheny-Coleman collaboration "Song X". However I returned my copy after just one listening session. Not that bringing records back to the shop was a habit of mine. It only happened a couple of times.

This story outlines what an impression Coleman could leave on the unexperienced listener. I was shocked and obviously didn't get the harmolodics. Nowadays Ornette Coleman is not a frequent run on my turntable or cd player either but I learned to appreciate his involvement in modern music. He took chances, he was a creator and did not fear or compromise. Like many of the true innovators he dedicated his life to his art.

It was through the Jorn Zorn's Naked City version of Lonely Woman that I learned to appreciate Coleman's music and it's potential beauty. The man still remains a mystery to many of us and people will rediscover his music for generations to come.

Photo by Andy Newcombe.

Ornette Coleman by Andy Newcombe

I haven't taken the time to honor Charlie Haden until now. He past away last month and jazz lost one of his great bass players. Haden came to the attention of a wider audience through his work with Ornette Coleman. Listen to "The Shape of Jazz to Come": that's Haden making history alongside Coleman, Don Cherry and Billy Higgins.

I guess Charlie Haden was regarded left-wing in the US. He was politically engaged and his Liberation Music Orchestra was proof of that. Born out of a collaboration with Carla Bley he often criticized the US interference in Latin America and the rest of the world in his music with this particularly band.

I only got the chance to see him once. With the Liberation Music Orchestra at the North Sea Jazz '85. Don't remember if Carla Bley was there as well that night. "We shall overcome" they played. Sure we will, Charlie.