Coleman stars in Discover Jazz Fest

BURLINGTON Alto saxophonist Ornette Colemans first album was Something Else!!!! (1959), and so is Ornette Coleman. The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival brings the 78-year-old revolutionary to the Flynn MainStage on June 7 at 8 pm. Colemans music is not for everyone. Viewed as the originator of the so-called Free Jazz movement, Coleman has been attacked and adored, rejected and revered. He was torn from a bandstand and beaten in 1949. A decade later, disgruntled drummer Max Roach punched him in the mouth at New Yorks Five Spot Caf_Musicians regularly walked out when he took the stage to play in the 1960s and 70s. On the other hand, Leonard Bernstein lauded him as a genius, and John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet declared him to be the only really new thing in jazz since Charlie Parker. Last year, Pulitzer Prize panelists sided with Colemans admirers. Although Colemans music was not among the 140 music nominees, the panelists purchased his Sound Grammar CD, and awarded him the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his pivotally seminal role in American music. Why the controversy? Coleman is a rebel. He sets aside traditional harmonies and rhythms. Instead, he focuses on pitch and a harmolodic music system that he hopes will remove the caste system from sound by liberating harmonies from their tonal centers and releasing rhythms from their regular meters. But Coleman is no cacophonist. In reviewing Colemans recent New York Town Hall concert in the May 28 New Yorker magazine, Gary Giddins emphasized that however sharp or flat [Coleman] is from accepted pitch, he is consistent from note to note. Coleman hears so acutely that even when he is out of tune with the rest of the musical world he is always in tune with himself. Want some free preparation for the momentous Coleman concert? A panel discussion on The Influence of Ornette Coleman will take place on June 7 at 2:30 p.m. at the Amy E. Tarrant Gallery. Shirley Clarkes movie about Coleman, Ornette: Made in America, will be screened at 3:30 p.m. at the Gallery. And you can actually meet the legendary Coleman in FlynnSpace at 5:30 p.m. First come, first served. Discover Ornette Coleman if you havent already done so. Remarkably, the Flynn Center will present pianist and poet Cecil Taylor on the Flynn MainStage on April 17, 2009. Inspired by Ornette Coleman, Taylor (80 next year) extended the Free Jazz movement to piano with his Jazz Advance (1955) and Looking Forward (1958) albums. For tickets and further information about the Coleman and Taylor concerts, visit the Flynn Box Office at 153 Main St, Burlington, call 802-863-5966, or go to www.flynntix.org. The Tarrant Gallery is also at 153 Main St., and FlynnSpace is at 147 Main St. Information about other Discover Jazz Festival events can be found at www.discoverjazz.com. On June 8 at 8 p.m., the Festival will wrap up its 25th anniversary at Red Square, 136 Church St., with a jam session featuring such Vermont luminaries as drummer Gabriel Jarrett, saxophonist Dave Grippo, and guitarist Nick Cassarino. Now its on to the next quarter-century.

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