Ornette Coleman And the Free Jazz Movement

English: Ornette Coleman at Enjoy Jazz Festiva...
English: Ornette Coleman at Enjoy Jazz Festival 2008, Heidelberg, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From allAfrica.com:

During the late 50’s and early 60’s, the word “Freedom” stood out as a politically charged word in American public discourse and it would be difficult to find a term that was more explosive and laden with varieties of meaning being proclaimed with more emotion during those tumultuous years. “Freedom” was very much something to live for, or, for a few, even to die for. There were the “Freedom Riders”, the “Freedom Singers”, and there was the “Freedom Vote”. The word was imprinted on the public’s consciousness and dramatized in speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King. It was sang in hymns and brandished at all battlegrounds of the civil rights movement. The influence of this Freedom Movement on Free Jazz was therefore very visible and expressive. However, the sociopolitical ramifications of this music are in many ways decisive in distinguishing the new free jazz players from the older generation of experimental jazz performers. From a purely musical point, freedom i e atonality in jazz music had appeared many years before Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor raised it into a decisive issue. But all of these precursors of free jazz were white musicians and representatives of the status quo.