Ornette Coleman has left us, my god what a loss. People like him are once in a generation…in his case once in a genre. As a guy who has always moved in and out of various music styles, Ornette’s musical philosophy influenced me in ways that I know will continue years in the future. Ironically today is my 3 year anniversary of starting this blog, what a strange turn of events this day has been. I reflect on so much today, but really today is the day to celebrate the legacy of a genius. We use the word genius often, but with Ornette, it was the truth. Jazz went to another dimension with his philosophy on composing…it is his philosophy that I end this post with.
“In music you have something called sound, you have speed, you have timbre, you have harmonics, and you have, more or less, the resolutions. In most music, people that play what I call mostly standard music, they only use one dimension, which means the note and the time. Whereas like say I’m having this conversation with you now. I’m talking, but I’m thinking, feeling, smelling, and moving. Yet I’m concentrating on what you’re saying. So that means there’s more things going on in the body than just the present thing that the person’s got you doing. Like you’re interviewing me, although I’m doing more than just talking to you. And the same with you.
To me, human existence exists on a multiple level, not just on a two-dimensional level, not just having to be identified with what you do and what you say. Those things are the results of what people see and hear that you do. But the human beings themselves are living on a multiple level. That’s how I have always wanted musicians to play with me: on a multiple level. I don’t want them to follow me. I want them to follow themself, but to be with me. Denardo and Billy and Blackwell has done that better than anyone I have met.”
Rest in peace Ornette Coleman.