Like much important art, Ornette Coleman’s music pulls you in two directions — joy as you share its natural, life-affirming flow; and discomfort as you engage with the nontraditional note relationships he called harmolodics. The alto saxist’s music was therefore both a liberation and a discipline, expanding the slavery-rooted blues of his native Texas and the defined jaggedness of Charlie Parker’s bebop into an ultimate freedom bought with heightened communication skills. Acknowledged for his attractive songcraft, Coleman nevertheless received little support in Los Angeles for his innovations, so he sought bigger ears in New York. But Coleman formed his first ensembles and made his first recordings here, and when L.A. band members such as Billy Higgins, Charlie Haden, Bobby Bradford and Don Cherry launched their own projects, they brought his freedom with them.

LA Creators