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Ornette Coleman: A Harmolodic Life Hardcover – April, 1993

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 258 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; 1st U.S. ed edition (April 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688072127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688072124
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,164,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In the wake of Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker, the saxophonist Ornette Coleman completes a kind of Holy Trinity of jazz improvisation. Like his predecessors, Coleman seems to have reinvented the art, not to mention the expectations of his audience. His keening alto floats free of bar lines, chord sequences, and tempered pitch, but always in the interest of emotional impact. ("There are some intervals," Coleman has said, "that carry that human quality if you play them in the right pitch.") John Litweiler's biography, the first, is a meticulous and intelligent account, as well as a fine listening companion. Although I've always enjoyed Coleman's own, rather concise account of his life--"Born, work, sad and happy and etc."--it's wonderful to have it fleshed out. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Litweiler, noted jazz critic and a former editor of Downbeat , provides the first full-length biography of jazz innovator Ornette Coleman (1930-). Using material from interviews with Coleman, his sister, and his musical associates, Litweiler describes Coleman's formative years in Texas, his struggle for acceptance in Los Angeles, the 1959 breakthrough at the Five Spot in New York, and his role as one of the leading exponents of free jazz during the experimental Sixties. The author also documents Coleman's violin improvisation, his symphonic works, and his fusion of free jazz with rock rhythms and electric guitars during the last two decades. Though never explaining the connection between Coleman's music and the social context in which it was created, Litweiler has written an extremely well-researched, interesting account of a jazz great that should appeal to general readers and jazz fans alike.
- David Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 1996
Format: Hardcover
Understanding Ornette Coleman, the man, only makes the appreciation of his music much deeper. Here is a man, who, like his music, is emotional, different, and most importantly, courageous. The author captures the high points of Ornette's life, and relates them in a way that ties his experiences to the resultant music. I dig this book a lot
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tim McDonald on February 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is fine if all you are looking for is a hagiographic litany of shows and recording dates. It offers no insight into this groundbreaking musician's sources, inspirations, or thinking. There is little to no context, historically speaking, as if Mr. Coleman's seminal work were made in a jazz vacuum. What is the backdrop against which this work was created... civil rights movement, Vietnam, flower power, the Black Power movement, etc.? And for god's sake where are the beat poets, the painters? Amiri Baraka or Ishmael Reed? Did he only do shows and make records? Did he only converse with musicians? What was it like to be a game changer in a world that saw him as a black man before seeing him as anything else? All this is missing from this book. Ornette Coleman: A Harmolodic Life seems to have been written from a great distance through an extremely narrow lens.
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