Yes, Ornette Coleman is to curate this year’s Southbank Meltdown Festival. The Pulitzer Prize winning radical is the first jazz artist to be given this honour – previous curators include David Bowie, Jarvis Cocker and Massive Attack. Although there’s no indication yet of the artists that willl be appearing at the Festival which runs from 13-21 June, Coleman is likely to involve some of the performers who have championed his unique approach to improvising. These might include new jazz bands like Led Bib and Fraud as well as established jazzers like John Zorn, whose album Spy vs Spy featured very individual approaches to Coleman’s compositions.
Coleman himself will perform two concerts as part of Meltdown, one inspired by his ground-breaking 1959 release The Shape of Jazz to Come and the other by the equally radical This is Our Music. Here on Cosmic Jazz we will feature Coleman’s music over the next couple of months. If you’ve any favourites you’d like to hear just let us know.
There has already been a lot of interest in Meltdown as a result of Coleman’s involvement, with features in national newspapers. This can only be good for contemporary jazz. We’ll continue to promote the event, but for more details call 0871 663 2520 or check out www.southbankcentre.co.uk/meltdown.
Latest news – first names announced!
The Meltdown lineup is taking shape. The first artists to be announced include The Roots, David Murray and the Gwo-Ka Masters with Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Baaba Maal, Bobby McFerrin and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra with Carla Bley and Robert Wyatt. Coleman himself with play with Morocco’s Master Musicians of Jajouka in two oncerts dedicated to the music of classic albums The Shape of Jazz to Come and This is Our Music. Any of these concerts will inspire and challenge and we shall feature music from as many of these artists as we can in coming months.