Ornette Coleman will be the 16th recipient of the Miles Davis Award, created for the Montreal International Jazz Festival’s 15th anniversary in 1994 to honour a great international jazz musician for the entire body of his or her work and for that musician’s influence in regenerating the jazz idiom.
“This peerless jazz titan insists that we consider him not simply as a saxophonist and artist, but as a composer who confounds and obliterates every boundary. You’d think that, even on the threshold of his 80th spring, he still had a reputation to make! When you practically invented free jazz, when you alternate at will between sax, trumpet and violin, when you’ve established a “Sound Grammar” and shared the stage with the Grateful Dead, all without compromising your technicolour personality, no label would even dare stick to you!”
Ornette Coleman is the latest in a series of Miles Davis prizewinners. He follows McCoy Tyner (2008), Mike Stern (2007), Brad Mehldau (2006), Dave Holland (2005), Keith Jarrett (2004), Joe Zawinul (2003), Chick Corea (2002), Michael Brecker (2001), Charlie Haden (2000), Cassandra Wilson (1999), John Scofield (1998), Herbie Hancock (1997), Wayne Shorter (1996), Pat Metheny (1995) and John McLaughlin (1994).
Image: © William Claxton