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223 × 144 × 35 mm
368 pages
60 illustrations
16 Mar 2020

Ornette Coleman The Territory and the Adventure Maria Golia

Ornette Coleman’s career encompassed the glory years of jazz and the American avant-garde. Born in segregated Fort Worth, Texas, during the Great Depression, the African American composer and musician was zeitgeist incarnate. Steeped in the Texas blues tradition, Ornette and jazz grew up together, as the brassy blare of big band swing gave way to bebop, a faster music for a faster, post-war world. At the dawn of the Space Age and New York’s 1960s counterculture, his music gave voice to the moment. Lauded by some, maligned by many, he forged a breakaway art sometimes called ‘the new thing’ or ‘free jazz’.

Featuring previously unpublished photographs of Ornette and his contemporaries, this is the compelling story of one of America’s most adventurous musicians and the sound of a changing world.

‘Golia offers a wide-ranging biography of the great saxophonist, writing less about the man himself than about the people, places, and musical tendencies that converged to make him the "patron saint of all things dissonant and defiant." The approach suits Coleman, who was soft-spoken despite his stubborn nonconformity, and unaffected by the larger-than-life egotism of contemporaries such as Charles Mingus or Miles Davis.’ — Julian Lucas, Harper's Magazine

‘There are lots of fascinating anecdotes, stories and previously unpublished photographs in Golia’s book . . . She has compiled a detailed, interesting story of his career.’ — Martin Chilton, udiscovermusic.com

‘One of the finest books on the power of place and influence in a musician's life.’ — Andrew Male, Mojo

‘Maria Golia eloquently describes the Ornette phenomenon in a book laden with musical and social insights.’ — Chris Searle, The Morning Star

‘A giant step in the right direction and the first significant book on Ornette Coleman since John Litweiler's Ornette Coleman: The Harmolodic Life was published in 1992…. Golia is very good at contextualising and explaining… and succeeds in exploring in a non-systemically musicological way the mysteries of harmolodics by shedding light on the more arcane side of Ornette's vast artistic curiosity. Ornette Coleman: The Territory and the Adventure also is excellent in enhancing our biographical knowledge of Ornette's early life in a very considered way.’ — Stephen Graham, Marlbank.net

‘The history of jazz is often told as a geographical adventure in which a great art enlightens and assimilates a chain of territories in the course of world conquest. Maria Golia revitalizes that narrative in exploring the life and genius of Ornette Coleman. This is the most incisive portrait we have of him – a joyous addition to the literature of music.’ — Gary Giddins, music critic, author and biographer

‘It’s always good to learn more about one of America’s greatest musicians, and Golia’s work has much that is new, especially (at last) a proper overview of Ornette’s experience in his hometown of Fort Worth, both in his youth and the 1980s. The Territory and the Adventure is the best book on Ornette Coleman yet.’ — Ethan Iverson, musician and music critic

‘Following Ornette's departure from the planet, his presence in the world only seems to increase and his music’s influence will no doubt continue far into the future. The poetic conception of music, sound, and life in the broadest sense that Ornette embodied is addressed here through the terrific writing of Ms. Golia. This volume is an excellent addition to the ongoing study of one of the greatest improvising musicians of all time.’ — Pat Metheny, musician, composer, educator

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Maria Golia managed one of America’s premier progressive music venues, the Caravan of Dreams Performing Arts Center, in Fort Worth, Ornette Coleman’s hometown. Her previous books include Cairo: City of Sand (2004), Photography and Egypt (2009) and Meteorite: Nature and Culture (2015), all published by Reaktion.


Part One: Coming Up
Part Two: Ignition
Part Three: Atmospherics
Part Four: Transmissions