Jazz: Back from Exile

In conversation, shy, slight Ornette Coleman sounds more like a librarian than a revolutionary. But not when he breathes into a saxophone. No sooner had he arrived unheralded in Manhattan in late 1959 than he blew up a typhoon of controversy such as the jazz world had not known since the mid-'40s when now-legendary Saxophonist Charlie ("Bird") Parker was blasting out new musical horizons.

Camped for six months in a dark den called the Five Spot, Coleman gave vent to a new style of atonal jazz, a free association of angular and seemingly disjointed sounds that brought curious jazzmen flocking...

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