1. “Ornette Coleman Dies at 85.” The composer and saxophonist who rewrote the language of jazz died on Thursday in Manhattan.
“His early work—a personal answer to his fellow alto saxophonist and innovator Charlie Parker—lay right inside the jazz tradition, generating a handful of standards for jazz musicians of the last half-century. But he later challenged assumptions about jazz from top to bottom, bringing in his own ideas about instrumentation, process and technical expertise. He was more voluble and theoretical than John Coltrane, the other great pathbreaker of that jazz era. He was a kind of musician-philosopher, whose interests reached well beyond jazz. He was seen as a native avant-gardist, personifying the American independent will as much as any artist of the last century. Slight, Southern and soft-spoken, Mr. Coleman became a visible part of New York City’s cultural life, often attending parties in bright silk suits. He could talk in sometimes baffling language about harmony and ontology, but his utterances could also be disarming in their freshness and clarity.”