“What Ornette was actually doing is something that is still needed in this country — the same thing. It’s not considered popular, but he had a sense of mission. A lot of the great stuff is not the best-seller — it’s interesting or thought-provoking, stuff that makes you want to transfer [ideas] from music to something that you do in another profession.
“We need someone to do that. If everyone was doing the same thing, like the same thing pop-wise, that’s like a lake without any outlet: everything in there gets poisoned and dies. [People like Coleman] work as antidotes to the sleeping powder that we drink…think…ingest.
“I think the music that’s called “future stuff” is the soundtrack to the few people who have the nerve and the courage to continue, to go to the end of the line and not be deterred. Like Miles [Davis] used to say: ‘What’s the matter, you scared?'”
Wayne Shorter plays live, 2013