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Ornette Coleman Honored at Berklee

Jazz revolutionary Ornette Coleman can add one more title to the long list of superlatives that ordinarily accompany his name: doctor. Berklee College of Music in Boston awarded Coleman an honorary doctorate of music this week during the school’s annual faculty conference.

Coleman, 75, wearing the traditional cap and gown, delivered the keynote speech at the conference.

“This university of knowledge that we call music is represented by the quality of Berklee,” Coleman said in written release from Berklee. “I am very happy and honored today to be standing here experiencing something I never believed I would achieve.”

Saxophonist and Berklee alumnus Greg Osby joined Joanne Brackeen, Berklee piano professor and longtime friend of Coleman, for a musical tribute to Coleman.

Last year, Song X, Coleman’s 1985 collaboration with guitarist Pat Metheny, was reissued to wide critical acclaim. The album was named 2005’s top reissue by JazzTimes.

This year, Coleman plans to release a live album, Live at Carnegie Hall, 2003, on his own Sound Grammar label. He is at work on his third music theory book.

Originally Published