Published Apr 17, 2007Free jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman has won the Pulitzer Prize for music. He was awarded the honour for his recent live album Sound Grammar, a recording of a 2005 concert in Italy.
The kicker is that Coleman's music was not even amongst the 140 nominees chosen for the category. Panelists for the prize bent the traditional rules by purchasing the 77-year-old's album and then nominating him. It marks the first time a musical recording has won a Pulitzer, as well as the first time improvised music has been recognised.
Meanwhile, Coleman's late associate, John Coltrane, was also recognised for his music with "a posthumous special citation for his masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz."