The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Celebrating Ornette Coleman - New York City Article

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Celebrating Ornette Coleman

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The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Celebrating Ornette Coleman

May 17, 2018

“Celebrating Ornette Coleman”
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, artistic director, Wynton Marsalis.
Rose Theater
Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall
Broadway at 60th Street, 5th Floor, (212) 721 6500
Friday May 18 and Saturday May 19

For years, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s majordomo, Wynton Marsalis, has been notoriously critical of much postmodern music, expressing the view that it departs too much from jazz’s fundamental virtues of swing and the blues. Yet for that very same reason, somewhat ironically, Mr. Marsalis has long trumpeted the glories of jazz’s first great postmodernist, the legendary Ornette Coleman. Coleman, who died three years ago at age 85, was originally infamous for how radical his innovations sounded at the moment when the world first heard him, at the height of the bebop era in 1960; yet today, the overall course of jazz in the last 70 years seems unimaginable without Ornette. The point that the JALC Orchestra most appreciates is that Coleman, unlike most of the “free jazz” players who followed, was more than an iconoclast and a musical maverick: he was foremostly one of jazz’s great composers, who had a knack for writing memorable and even catchy melodies, the kind of tunes that audiences remember and musicians want to play. We’ve long savored what Mr. Marsalis has done with Coleman’s classic “Ramblin,” now we’re looking forward to hear what such inspired arrangers as musical director Ted Nash, as well as Chris Crenshaw, Carlos Henriquez, Vincent Gardner, Ron Westray, and Mr. Marsalis himself can do with “Lonely Woman,” “Peace,” and “Una Muy Bonita.”

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Author: Will Friedwald
Photography by: STEPHEN SOROKOFF

Author: Will Friedwald

Will Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, VANITY FAIR and PLAYBOY magazine and reviews current shows for THE CITIVIEW NEW YORK. He also is the author of nine books, including the award-winning A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU, STARDUST MELODIES, TONY BENNETT: THE GOOD LIFE, LOONEY TUNES & MERRIE MELODIES, and JAZZ SINGING. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.

New Books:

THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP VOCAL ALBUMS (Pantheon Books / Random House, November 2017)