Jazz at Lincoln Center Celebrates Ornette Coleman

Wynton Marsalis’ orchestra pays tribute to avant-garde pioneer for two nights in May

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Ted Nash will serve as music director of "Celebrating Ornette Coleman"

On May 18 and 19, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will venture into exploratory musical territory with a program called “Celebrating Ornette Coleman.” The two concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater will feature big-band arrangements of compositions by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning saxophonist and free-jazz innovator, including “Lonely Woman,” “Ramblin’,” “Una Muy Bonita” and “Peace.”

Although Marsalis will perform with the orchestra, JLCO saxophonist Ted Nash will serve as music director for these evenings, which aim to emphasize Coleman’s gifts as a writer of melodies.

Since Coleman’s death in 2015, he has been the subject of several artistic retrospectives. Perhaps the most notable was Lincoln Center’s weeklong “Ornette Coleman: Tomorrow Is the Question” in 2017, which featured the reunions of two different versions of Coleman’s electric band Prime Time and a screening of the 1991 David Cronenberg film Naked Lunch, during which Coleman’s soundtrack music was performed by saxophonists Henry Threadgill and Ravi Coltrane, bassist Charnett Moffett and drummer Denardo Coleman (Ornette’s son).

Visit the Jazz at Lincoln Center website for more information on “Celebrating Ornette Coleman.”

Read Nate Chinen’s 2015 appreciation of Coleman in JazzTimes.