June 11 has not been a good day for those who get depressed by celebrity obituaries: in the past 24 hours, word has broken about the deaths of noted movie producer Robert Chartoff (Rocky, Raging Bull), horror icon and all-around awesome actor Christopher Lee, Oscar-nominated actor Ron Moody (Oliver!), and wresting legend Dusty “The American Dream” Rhodes. For jazz fans, however, none of the aforementioned losses are likely to hit anywhere as hard as the one they’re reeling from right now: alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman has died from cardiac arrest at the age of 85.
Born March 30, 1930 in Fort Worth, Texas, Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman effectively set the stage for his entire career while he was attending I.M. Terrell High School, where he was a member of the school band until he was thrown out for improvising during a performance of John Philip Sousa’s “The Washington Post.” Fast-forward to 1960, and Coleman is earning praise for his latest album, Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation. We don’t know for sure if Coleman ever donated anything to his high school’s band department later in life, but if he did, we’d like to think that he wrote “thanks for nothing” on the check’s memo line and mailed it in with a photo of himself grinning and holding the Pulitzer Prize he won in 2007 for his album Sound Grammar.
Hear the real story of AMERICAN BEAUTY as told by Bob Weir and producer Stephen Barncard when you tune in to this month's Spotify Landmark.
If the name “Steven Wilson” doesn’t mean anything to you, then we can reasonably presume that you’re not a Porcupine Tree fan, since the gentleman in question first earned fame as a result of his work as the lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist of that particular band. More recently, however, Wilson’s greatest claim to fame, at least among classic rock fans, has been his remixing work on seminal albums by such artists as Yes. King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and – as you might well have guessed by the title of this particular post – Jethro Tull.
In the past, Wilson has taken on Tull’s Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play, and now he’s done the same for an additional pair of their classic efforts: Aqualung and Benefit. There’s certainly no question that these albums are considered among the best ever released by Tull, but Wilson’s efforts have made them sound better than ever.
If you were listening to the radio during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, you didn’t need to be a Faith No More fan to be familiar with “Epic,” the top-10 single which remains the San Francisco band’s biggest hit, but given that they never had another song come anywhere close to earning the same level of airplay, we’d understand if you never managed to become familiar with anything else by Mike Patton and the gang. But if you fell hard for that track and took the time to explore The Real Thing, the album from which “Epic” originated, then there’s a good chance that you found a few more tracks that tickled your fancy, and if that proved to be the case, then it wouldn’t surprise us one bit if you were quick to pick up a copy of the band’s next album, Angel Dust.
Now that Faith No More has reunited and released a new album – Sol Invictus, which hit stores last month – this seems like the perfect time to go back to those two classic efforts and expand them into two-disc deluxe editions, wouldn’t you say?