"Ornette Coleman won the Pulitzer Prize for music on Monday for his 2006 album, Sound Grammar, the first jazz work to be bestowed with the honor.
The alto saxophonist and visionary who led the free jazz movement in the 1950s and 1960s, won the Pulitzer at age 77 for his first live recording in 20 years. The only other jazz artist to win a Pulitzer is Wynton Marsalis, who won in 1997 for his classical piece, Blood on the Fields."
Apparently uncomfortable making the jazz versus classical distinction, several publications used the AP article but changed the lead to something like this, from the International Herald Tribune:
"Ornette Coleman won the Pulitzer Prize for music on Monday for his 2006 album, "Sound Grammar," the second jazz artist to receive the honor."
The Boston Globe's Jeremy Eichler ran a strange piece under the headline "Classical Music has Nothing to Fear from Pulitzer Going to Jazz Artist." Yehudi Wyner, a classical composer who recently won a Pulitzer, and who was on the nominating jury, is quoted as saying, "Classical music is very much a minority art, and in some sense, recognition by an august agency helps keep it alive, or keeps its prestige alive. But the idea that jazz, this most vital and participatory American art form, was in no way recognized and was actually shunted aside, it's scandalous. It's unconscionable."
Several writers indicate that Coleman "blends classical and free jazz" techniques in his creative process.
The struggle continues, even among certified professional experts, to make sense of American culture.