Friday, December 18, 2009

1039 - Mojo 19. Ornette Coleman - Shape of Jazz to Come (1959)

Track Listing

1. Lonely Woman
2. Eventually
3. Peace
4. Focus On Sanity
5. Congeniality
6. Chronology


Yet another album that is hard to judge separating it from its historical importance, let it be said, however, that this is definitely not my kind of Jazz although I perfectly understand what Coleman was going for and even admire him for it.

The freedom of expression shown in this collection of tracks is a quite radical and impressive thing which would influence Jazz music for the rest of the following century and beyond. If anything it was the last great revolution in Jazz.

So this is the birth of what would become (in)famously known as "free jazz" where feeling is express in an extremely free musical form. While this is doubtlessly interesting and often makes for some surprising music I can never help from feeling that the best bits are when the music devolves to some kind of harmonic construct, the little breaks in the Chaos that precedes and ensues. It is worth noticing Charlie Haden's particularly good use of the double bass here, at times playing by using a bow, quite uncommon in most jazz settings and to great effect.

Track Highlights

1. Lonely Woman
2. Peace
3. Chronology
4. Focus on Sanity

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The Shape of Jazz to Come was one of the first avant-garde jazz albums ever recorded. It was recorded in 1959 by Coleman's piano-less quartet. The album was considered shocking at the time, because it had no recognizable chord structure and included simultaneous improvisation by the performers in a much freer style than previously seen in jazz.
Coleman's major breakthrough was to leave out chord-playing instruments. Each selection contains a brief melody, much like the tune of a typical jazz song, then several minutes of free improvisation, followed by a repetition of the main theme; while this resembles the conventional head-solo-head structure of bebop, it abandons the use of chord structures.

Only bit of Lonely woman I could legally find online...:

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