Saxophonist and composer Ornette Coleman, one of the most legendary figures in jazz, died of a cardiac arrest in Manhattan on Thursday morning, The New York Times reports. He was 85.
As one of the major innovators of the free jazz movement, Coleman helped expand the genre in the 1950s and early ’60s, making it less tied down by the rules of harmony and rhythm.
He led his first recording session for Contemporary, “Something Else!!!!: The Music of Ornette Coleman” in 1958 with trumpeter Don Cherry, drummer Billy Higgins, bassist Don Payne and pianist Walter Norris.
Coleman signed with Atlantic Records in 1959 and released “The Shape of Jazz to Come” whose composition revolutionized the genre.
His album “Sound Grammar” received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for music.