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  • Writer's pictureJOHN OSLER'S UPBEAT Admin




The healing effect that music and particularly jazz has on both our physical and mental heath will be the subject of a series of blogs. Watching the enrichment that his music brought to Marcus Belgrave’s life and those around him started me thinking about the importance of music in our lives. Last week a lot of live music lifted my spirits.

Sometimes we get down in the dumps  and we need something soothing. Maybe the best cure is a shot of jazz. Last week at the Dirty Dog,  Doctor of Song Freddy Cole was in the house passing out  his magical elixir. Freddy uses his voice and a piano as a delivery system. His spare piano and incredibly rich singing voice get inside your body and mind where they can get to work.. A flush of feeling good can come over you. Freddy’s tonic is sure a lot easier to take than castor oil.




Ornette Coleman performs during the North Sea Jazz Festival in 2010.

ORNETTE COLEMAN                                Photo Peter Van Breukelen/Redferns/Getty Images

This week jazz composer and saxophonist Ornette Coleman passed away. Ornette was his own man, often challenging musical convention by altering  the meter and chord structure while keeping the melody somewhere in there.

The New York Times stated: ” He symbolized the American independent will as effectively as any artist of the last century.”

NPR said: “Ornette Coleman played his alto saxophone the way someone whistles to themselves walking down the street, unconcerned with rules about how a song is supposed to go. Coleman believed in the unfettered, imaginative, original, expressive powers of melody.

I don’t think I was alone for not immediately understanding Ornette’s contribution to jazz. He spoke in a new language that was unfamiliar to me when I first heard it. He was an innovator who was recognized as a pioneer who freed others to use their own voice.

 My friend Luiz Resto explained what musicians who had listened carefully always knew,  that Ornette never neglected the tune. Because of this his free jazz was accessible and helped bridge the gap for many between traditional and avant-garde music. It was always there. He never, ever stopped respecting the traditions.



Here is part of a conversation I had last week with Freddy Cole’s great drummer Quentin E Baxter. I had my camera siting on the table and caught his expression of appreciation for Ornette Coleman. There were several conversations in the room. Unfortunately I caught them all, but Quentin’s words came through,

John Osler

#Detroit #DirtyDogJazzCafé #Jazz #Music

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