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Western Michigan University's Keith Hall talks about jazz greats and talks with current practitioners of the art.0000017c-60f7-de77-ad7e-f3f73a350002

Jazz Currents looks at Ornette Coleman

Iconic composer and saxophonist, Ornette Coleman, is remembered for widening the options in jazz and helping to change its course forever.

Ornette Coleman was born in 1930 in Fort Worth, Texas.  Early on, he was influenced by the great Texas tenor saxophonists Arnett Cobb and Illinois Jacquet and was soon enamored with bebop and Charlie Parker.

Coleman became known for leading groups that did not include a piano or guitar, which provided a more open sound with more possibilities.  Over the years, his bands included musical partners such as Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, Billy Higgins, and Ed Blackwell.  Together, they helped create Coleman's ground breaking album Free Jazz and the concept he called Harmolodics.

Ornette Coleman was a winner of the prestigious MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship, as well as a Grammy award for lifetime achievement, and a Pulitzer Prize.   He passed away on June 11, 2015 at the age of 85, but he has left us with a multitude of compositions and influential albums that continue to inspire.


  Music heard in this piece includes:

"The Blessing" (Ornette Coleman) from Ornette Coleman's Something Else! The Music of Ornette Coleman

"When will the Blues Leave" (Ornette Coleman) from Ornette Coleman's Something Else! The Music of Ornette Coleman

"Tomorrow is The Question" (Ornette Coleman) from Ornette Coleman's Tomorrow is the Question!

"Lonely Woman" (Ornette Coleman) from Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come

"Humpty Dumpty" (Ornette Coleman) from Ornette Coleman's This is Our Music

"Free Jazz" (Ornette Coleman) from Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz

"The Good Life" (Ornette Coleman) from Ornette Coleman and Pat Metheny'sSong X

"Ramblin'" (Ornette Coleman) from Ornette Coleman's Change of the Century

As Chief Engineer for WMUK, Martin Klemm is kept busy by tending to a variety of issues - from computers to tower lights - he will never run out of things to fix. Before coming to WMUK in 2003, Martin worked in Los Angeles making records with some outstanding producers, but preferred to be close to his family here in west Michigan. He enjoys keeping a busy schedule balancing WMUK, loving on his friends' doggos, and remodeling his home in the Edison neighborhood (which never seems to end)
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