The meeting between saxophonist/composer Ornette Coleman and philospher Jacques Derrida documented here took place in late June and early July 1997, before and during Coleman’s three concerts at La Villette, a museum and performing arts complex north of Paris that houses, among other things, the world-renowned Paris Conservatory. Here Derrida interviews Coleman about his views on composition, improvisation, language and racism. Perhaps the most interesting point of the exchange is the convergence of their respective ideas about “languages of origin” and their experiences of racial prejudice. This interview was originally conducted in English several days before Coleman’s concerts, but since original transcripts could not be located, I have translated it back into English from the published French text.
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