“The pattern for the tune will be forgotten, and the tune itself will be the pattern.”
-Ornette Coleman (from Ornette Coleman, A Harmolodic Life)
To me, there are certain musicians who deserve specific attention… who require deliberate study. — The controversial, the innovative and the revolutionary — If we made a “Mount Rushmore” of jazz icons, these would be the faces carved in stone: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Bird/Dizzy/Monk/Bud, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and certainly Ornette Coleman. Each one made their place by breaking away from previously established conventions and each one providing us with a lifetime of lessons. Despite furious criticism about his unorthodox music & appearance, Ornette pushed forward with deliberate force, making his own way.
What I have learned from Ornette Coleman?
- Never forget the blues/swing.
- Always be yourself & be relentless in pursuing your vision.
- The most gentle souls are sometimes the most ferocious artists.
- Exploring music is also exploring yourself.
- Honor your influences without neglecting your voice.
- Melody is king.
- Different shouldn’t be threatening.
- Tell a story.
- We create our own boundaries and our own categories, which only hold us back.
- Search. Find your path, and follow it.
- Use music as a conduit to the discovery of one’s self.
- Harmony can be self-created.
- It’s ok to be playful, humor in music is a wonderful thing.
- Simplicity is difficult, but the goal.
“We’ve all gained from Ornette’s life and explorations.”