Ornette Coleman (1930-2015, American)

You may be surprised to find Ornette Coleman listed in my long index of classical music composers reviewed, but it’s only by dint of the arrangement for string quartet made by jazz bassist Mel Graves (1946- 2008) in 1984 of his standard “Lonely Woman” from 1959, played by the Kronos Quartet on their album White Man Sleeps (with works of Kevin Volans, Charles Ives, Jon Hassell, Thomas Oboe Lee, Ben Johnston, Béla Bartók) on Elektra Nonesuch 979 163-2 (1987) or 7559-79163-2. In Graves’ arrangement and Kronos’ interpretation, it has a furious energy that makes it closer to Jimmy Hendrix than Jazz, with wild slides that seem to evoke the electric guitar as much as the saxophone.

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