Monday, February 9, 2009
Ornette Coleman - The Shape of Jazz To Come (1959)
I've come out of my premature retirement mah bois! This one's for my boy Howard Roark. Highly influential album by the master Ornette Coleman. This guy's one of the most important jazz figures of all time, not only pioneering in the free jazz movement but also improvisation. Without a doubt, one of the most important and greatest albums of all time.
"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 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.
The album was a breakthrough work, in that it helped establish the avant-garde & free jazz movement. Later avant-garde jazz was often very different from this, but the work laid the foundation for the format in which nearly all later avant-garde and free jazz would be played."