Jazz Legend Ornette Coleman Has Died

He was 85.

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Jun 11 2015, 2:30pm


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Jazz legend Ornette Coleman has died at age 85. According to a representative of the family, the cause of death was cardiac arrest.

Coleman is widely considered to be one of the most significance jazz pioneers over the last 50 years, shaping the genre with his skills as a composer and saxophonist. Writing the obituary in the New York Times, critic Ben Ratliff says, "Though his early work, a kind of personal answer to Charlie Parker, lay right within jazz—and generated a handful of standards among jazz musicians of the last half-century, he later challenged assumptions about jazz from top to bottom, bringing in his own ideas about instrumentation, process and technical expertise."

With his albums The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959) and Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation (1960), Coleman invented the concept of "free jazz." In 2007, he won the Pulitzer Prize for music for his album Sound Grammar.