Speaking (Archive) (201)
By Reggie Ugwu
In the 1950s and 1960s, when most jazz artists were producing smooth and danceable tunes that entered the mainstream, pioneer saxophonist Ornette Coleman revitalized and challenged the genre with an innovative and improvisational approach known as free jazz.
He was born in
The budding musician soon began playing in local rhythm and blues bands, and he developed an unorthodox style early on, so much so that he had difficulty finding like-minded musicians who were comfortable with his loose treatment of harmony and chord progression.
It was his six-week gig at the legendary Five Spot nightclub in
Coleman’s 1960 release Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation, made his most lasting impact on jazz culture. Ornette fortified a new genre that would adopt the album title as its own. At nearly 40 minutes long, the Free Jazz session was the longest recorded continuous session by any ensemble to date.
Coleman and his band continue to tour today. See Ornette Coleman online for tour dates, a discography, and more information.
Jazz festivals abound in
On September 20-21, thousands of jazz fans convene at downtown
From September 26-28, the 11th Annual Jazz Festival in Kemah brings in dozens of national and local acts to play outdoor sets on the festive Kemah Boardwalk. Shop, eat, listen to music, and repeat. Admission is free. Call 877/ATKEMAH; www.kemahboardwalk.com.
From October 9-12, the Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts hosts the annual Latin Jazz Festival, a four-day event that includes free performances by local acts on Thursday, national performers playing paid shows on Friday and Saturday, and an all-day street festival in the downtown historic district on Sunday. Call 956/831-7818; www.brosociety.org.
From October 17-19, the Texas Jazz Festival in
Looking ahead: Mark your 2009 calendar for the annual Jazz Festival in Addison (April 16-18, 2009) and the annual Houston International Jazz Festival (July 29-August 2, 2009) in
By: Sheryl Smith-Rodgers
Like a true Texan, Lyndon Baines Johnson often drawled “y’all come see us, heah” to friends and strangers alike. One invitation in particular strengthened diplomatic ties between the
While on a goodwill tour of Asia in spring 1961, Johnson—then vice president—shook hands with cheering crowds, handed out pens, and offhandedly invited spectators to visit him in the
The next day, Dawn,
That fall, Ahmad flew to
On their final day together, Johnson escorted Ahmad to the Texas State Fair in