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Ornette Coleman Sues Over Release of “New Vocabulary” Album

Complaint alleges saxophonist did not authorize release

Ornette Coleman

A federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of saxophonist Ornette Coleman against trumpeter Jordan McLean, of the band Antibalas, and drummer Amir Ziv. According to a press release issued by Coleman’s publicity firm, “The complaint alleges that McLean and Ziv recorded Coleman, then age 79, at his home in 2009, and then recently released these recordings to the public without his consent or knowledge as the album New Vocabulary on System Dialing Records.”

The press release further states: “Coleman, who is now 85 years old, was introduced to the band Antibalas and their trumpeter McLean through their association with the Broadway musical Fela, which Coleman attended. The complaint asserts that, following the introduction, McLean asked Coleman if he would talk to him about music and Coleman graciously invited him over to his house to share his knowledge. McLean brought his partner, drummer Ziv, whom he introduced as a teacher at the New School. Years after making the recordings of Coleman’s teaching sessions, McLean asked if he could release them. Coleman denied the request both directly and through his attorney and asked that the material be turned over to him. McLean instead released the recordings, forcing Coleman to seek legal recourse.”

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