Born in Los Angeles, California, in 1956, Denardo Coleman began playing drums at the age of six. His first appearance on record was on his father's 1966 album The Empty Foxhole, with Charlie Haden on bass. Haden said of Denardo's playing on that recording: "He’s going to startle every drummer who hears him." Denardo also featured on his father's later releases, including Ornette at 12 (1968) and Crisis (1969), and played as a member of Ornette's Prime Time ensemble in the 1970s. He also worked with his mother in the band The Firespitters, and has played with Geri Allen, Pat Metheny, James Blood Ulmer, and Jamaaladeen Tacuma. In the 1980s he started to manage his father's career, which he continued doing for the next 30 years.
Coleman has also done extensive work as a producer, including on albums by both of his parents. In 2017 on a new label called Song X Records (referencing the title of one of his father's favorite compositions) he produced Celebrate Ornette, a tribute to his father, in a box set with 24 performances captured on two DVDs, three CDs, and four vinyl LPs.
With Ornette Coleman
- The Empty Foxhole (Blue Note, 1967)
- Ornette at 12 (Impulse!, 1968)
- Crisis (Impulse!, 1969)
- Of Human Feelings (Antilles, 1979)
- Song X (Geffen, 1985) with Pat Metheny
- Prime Design/Time Design (Caravan of Dreams, 1985)
- In All Languages (Caravan of Dreams, 1987)
- Tone Dialing (Harmelodic/Verve, 1995)
- Sound Museum: Hidden Man (Harmolodic/Verve, 1996)
- Sound Museum: Three Women (Harmolodic/Verve, 1996)
- Sound Grammar (Sound Grammar, 2006)
With Jayne Cortez & the Firespitters
- Taking the Blues Back Home (Virgin, 1996)
- Borders of Disorderly Time with Bobby Bradford, Frank Lowe, Al MacDowell, James Blood Ulmer, Charnett Moffett, Bern Nix, T. K. Blue, Alex Harding (Bola Press, 2003)
With James Blood Ulmer
- Tales of Captain Black (Artists House, 1978)
With Pat Metheny
- Song X (Nonesuch, 1985)
With Charnett Moffett
- Treasure (King Japan, 2010)
- "Coleman, Denardo (Ornette)", Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians, Jazz.com
- John Litweiler, Ornette Coleman: A Harmolodic Life (New York: William Morrow, 1992), p. 121. Quoted in Nathan A. Frink, "An Analysis of the Compositional Practices of Ornette Coleman as Demonstrated in his Small Group Recordings During the 1970s", 2009, p. 24. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
- Denardo Coleman, "My father was deep". Liner notes from Celebrate Ornette, 2017.
- "Coleman, Denardo (Ornette)", Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians at Jazz.com.
- Celebrate Ornette website.
- David Fricke, "Review: 'Celebrate Ornette' Gives Avant-Jazz Legend an All-Star Farewell", Rolling Stone, February 1, 2017.