Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Coleman, Denardo (Ornette)
Coleman, Denardo (Ornette), drummer; b. Los Angeles, CA 19 April 1956. His mother Jayne Cortez married his father Ornette from 1954-64. He started drums at 6, possibly first recording since age 10. He began touring with his father around 1984 and has been managing/producing him ever since.
It has been more than 25 years since a young Denardo Coleman began playing drums and recording with his father Ornette Coleman. Since that time, Denardo Coleman has gone on to record and eventually produce many of Ornette's records. In 1966, at the age of 10 years old, Denardo, along with Ornette and Charlie Haden on bass, recorded the award-winning album The Empty Foxhole for Blue Note. The album was met with much critical acclaim along with a fair amount of skepticism. Why would Ornette have someone so young playing with him? Of course this was not the first time that Ornette had experienced controversy. As it turns out, Denardo had been practicing with his father for several years before Ornette felt he was ready. Their natural communication was evident on that first recording. During this time, Denardo recorded twice more with Ornette including Ornette At 12 (Impulse 1968) and Crisis (Impulse 1969).
During the early 70's, Denardo toured occasionally with Ornette but primarily was involved with student life. It was also in this time period that the early formations of Ornette's current band, Prime Time, evolved. Prime Time would be seen as a departure for Ornette for its inclusion of electric instruments and rock format. From the now classic recording Dancing In Your Head, to its most recent Virgin Beauty, Prime Time has gone on to worldwide acclaim. As well as being the drummer, Denardo has accepted the further responsibility of being the group's producer. This includes the historical double recording In All Languages featuring Prime Time along with Ornette's groundbreaking original quartet with Don Cherry, Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins.
Denardo has been involved with many other projects - none more endearing than the work he has done with Jayne Cortez, one of America's pre-eminent contemporary poets. Together, they have collaborated on 5 recordings (Bola Press) since 1980 and continue to forge new ground in the world of music and the spoken word.
Apart from Denardo's musical career, the business environment has been his other passion - heading up business management for Ornette, and several of their music related companies, including a newly built multi-track recording studio, located in the historic district of Harlem, New York.
Studio and mail:
103 E. 125