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Celebrating Ornette

A friend once told me a Jazz joke. It goes: John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins decided to see a wise, holy man to ask him for the secrets of saxophone perfection. To get to him they had to travel many miles by plane and train and then, hike up a snow covered mountain. When they finally reached the summit. They found a small man sitting there with his back to them, looking out into the vast beautiful blue sky, playing a saxophone. When this wise, holy man turned to face them…. it was Ornette Coleman!!!


I share that story as a reminder of the significant place that Ornette Coleman holds in Jazz history. He surely influenced both Rollins and Coltrane and started a musical revolution. Listening today, it's easy to ask, "What was the big deal?" Most people can't hear the difference. But in the 1950s, when this little man from Texas, by way of Los Angeles, came to New York City with his plastic sax, funny suits and weird approach to chord changes, there was an uproar. An uproar that even turned violent.


The first concert of Philly saxophonist, Bobby Zankel's three concert festival, "Still the New Thing! featured a phenomenal celebration of Cecil Taylor. Next up at the Painted Bride on Friday night, March 21st, is an energetic, celebration of Ornette Coleman featuring his son, Denardo Coleman performing in the rare role as band leader in a group with Philadelphians Charlie Ellerbee-electric guitar and Antoine Roney-tenor saxophone; Also on the bill is the Jamaaladeen Tacuma Band, with  Philadelphians, Jamaaladeen Tacuma-bass, Khary Abdul-Shaheed & G. Calvin Weston-drums, amongst others. In the mid 1970s, bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma, along with Philadelphians, Charlie Ellerbee & G. Calvin Weston joined Coleman’s Prime Time band, and performed on the historic recordings Dancing in Your Head, Body Meta, and Of Human Feelings.

According to festival creator Bobby Zankel, "…these special artists, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra did not break with the tradition. Their music is an extension of what came before them. They worked to technically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually extend themselves to places where they had never gone before and took the risks to try that." Zankel adds, "Looking at these masters as inspirations, we as contemporary artists need to explore all the possibilities and create from a place of courage, joy and hope." He and his Warriors of the Wonderful Sound organization, along with the Painted Bride Art Center, Ars Nova Workshop and Philadelphia Jazz Project came together to make this remarkable celebration happen. You owe it to yourself to experience this slice of history in the making.


Ornette Coleman's 84th Birthday Celebration
Featuring Denardo Coleman Group & Jamaaladeen Tacuma Band

Friday, March 21, 2014 - 8:00pm
Painted Bride Art Center
230 Vine Street
Phila., PA 19106

For more information and tickets go to The Painted Bride Website:


Denardo Coleman Group
Denardo Coleman-drums, Tony Falanga & Al MacDowell-bass, Charlie Ellerbee-electric guitar, Antoine Roney-tenor saxophone;


Jamaaladeen Tacuma Band
Jamaaladeen Tacuma-bass, Wolfgang Puschnig-hojak + alto sax, Terry Adkins-tenor sax, Yoichi Uzeki-piano + keyboards, Khary Abdul-Shaheed & G. Calvin Weston-drums




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Tags : OrnetteColeman WarriorsoftheWonderfulSound PaintedBrideArtCenter ArsNovaWorkshop BobbyZankel DenardoColeman CharlieEllerbee AntoineRoney JamaaladeenTacuma


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