Some Ornette Coleman Heads

Ornette Coleman is revered as an important and prolific composer, perhaps the only one from the free jazz tradition who's so widely-acknowledged in this field. So why aren't there big books of the hundreds of tunes he's written over the decades? Who knows, but I did manage to find some transcriptions on the web and thought I'd collect them here as a service to the next person who goes hunting for them.

James Mahone's blog has "Giggin'", "Kathelin Gray", "Peace", "Law Years", "Mob Job", "The Garden of Souls", "Love Words", "Him and Her"

The Jazz Transcript Authority has "Jordan", "Word from Bird", "All of Us", "Macho Woman", "Police People" and "Street Woman".

Free Jazz Institute has "The Good Life" and "Lonely Woman".

Neil Mattson has "Peace", "Blues Connotation", "Round Trip", "Humpty Dumpty" and "Broadway Blues".

Some of these are, unsurprisingly, very basic but used in conjunction with a recording they'll give you a leg up if you want to add some Ornette to your repertoire. There's already a lot to work with here -- enough for an album even if you play them as fast as John Zorn does! -- but if I end up transcribing other tunes I'll be sure to post them here.

In addition to these, any Ornette fan should have Gunther Schuller's book A Collection of the Compositions of Ornette Coleman, which appears to be out of print but can be located online, and pages from the various volumes of the Real Book that include one or two Ornette tunes.

2019 update:

Todd Bishop did "Mothers of the Veil". Gregory Toro has done "City Living", "When Will The Blues Leave?", "W.R.U." and "Faces and Places". Ethan Iverson offered "What Reason Could I Give". Dave Fink has done "The Blessing", "Blues Connotation" and "Congeniality". Milo Fultz has got "Sleep Talking". Josiah Boornazian has done a good version of Lonely Woman, including the alto solo.

I'm sure there are more out there. Email me if you know of some, I'll add them here.

To emphasise: transcriptions are there to give you a starting-point and none of those offering them makes great claims to accuracy. Schuller's book of course is a bit of an exception in terms of his claims, but it too should be taken with a large pinch of salt (and many listenings to the source material).