Ornette Coleman, often referred to as the father of free jazz, is now considered a jazz legend and spoken about with reverence. Like many great innovators he was initially scorned by many as a fake, a phony, a poser. By blending the collective improvisation of Dixieland with the progressive melodic and harmonic approaches of modern jazz, he opened up a panorama of expression that cleared the way for a jazz revolution. Coleman's improvisational theory known as Harmolodics, along with his compositional approach, blazed new roles for soloists as well as the bass and drums.
To quote Ornette, "Learned technique is a law method. Natural technique is nature's method. And this is what makes music so beautiful to me. It has both, thank God." Dewey Redman, tenor saxophonist on this album, came to prominence joining Ornette in 1968 for a six-year stint. He has also worked with many other jazz greats, including his well-known son Joshua Redman. The album derives from a 1995 concert in San Francisco, California, partially funded by the NEA. Joe Rosenberg's Affinity also appears on Music & Arts CD-4834, Affinity Plays Modern Jazz Classics, which includes interpretations of tunes by Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy as well as Anthony Braxton, Thelonious Monk, Lee Morgan and others.