Remember jazzman Ornette Coleman? His look-alike son continues his legacy

The alto saxophonist and composer known as one of the most powerful innovators in the history of Jazz, Ornette Coleman, left behind a son who has kept his legacy alive.

Ornette passed away in Manhattan in June 2015 at the age of 85 due to cardiac arrest. While his influence in Jazz was remarkable in the late 50s and 60s, he made sure that his son, Denardo, followed on his steps and became a musician.

As The New Yorker reported, Ornette replaced his professional drummer with Denardo, who was only 12 years old at the time. He took such an unusual decision for the album “The Empty Foxhole,” released in 1966.

While Denardo was finding his way into his instrument, the role of the drums in Ornette’s songs became more “ornamental and coloristic.”

Both of them kept playing together up until Ornette died, proving that it was not just a decision that a father would take to include their child in the business as he noticed how talented Denardo was.


In a blog that has the late musician’s name, Denardo wrote a lengthy description of his father, some of the best moments they spent together, and different other details about their lives.

“For some his music was too complicated, too abstract, nothing to grab on to, just too out there. For others it was utterly profound because it spoke directly to the brain and to the soul simultaneously,” pointed out Denardo.

Further in the reading, he confessed he had never been to a service where people would get out smiling and joyful, but that was exactly what happened after Ornette’s memorial at The Riverside Church in New York.


“Again, that Ornette energy, so unique and profound, had lifted the room. Defying category, that energy, both down home and highly advanced, is an Ornette kind of authenticity,” added Denardo.

At the moment, the 62-year-old drummer has kept himself busy not only playing but also producing albums. One of the most recent ones was “Celebrate Ornette,” which was a tribute to his father.

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