Ornette Coleman sues Jordan McLean of Antibalas

A federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Grammy® Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Ornette Coleman against Jordan McLean of the band Antibalas and Amir Ziv. The complaint alleges that McLean and Ziv recorded Coleman, then age 79, at his home in 2009, and then recently released these recordings to the public without his consent or knowledge as the album New Vocabulary on System Dialing Records.
Coleman, who is now 85 years old, was introduced to the band Antibalas and their trumpeter McLean through their association with the Broadway musical Fela, which Coleman attended. The complaint asserts that, following the introduction, McLean asked Coleman if he would talk to him about music and Coleman graciously invited him over to his house to share his knowledge. McLean brought his partner, drummer Ziv, whom he introduced as a teacher at the New School. Years after making the recordings of Coleman’s teaching sessions, McLean asked if he could release them. Coleman denied the request both directly and through his attorney and asked that the material be turned over to him. McLean instead released the recordings, forcing Coleman to seek legal recourse.
The complaint further alleges that:

  • An individual not recorded at the sessions is credited as having participated
  • Music was added to the recordings after the fact
  • The public is likely to be misled into believing that Coleman approves of, or is affiliated with, the public release of these recordings.

Last year’s Celebrate Ornette tribute concert that featured Sonny Rollins, Patti Smith, Flea, Savion Glover and many other artists including a performance by Coleman himself, is being readied for a fall 2015 deluxe box set release. This official and authorized release by Coleman will be his first since 2006’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Sound Grammar.