Monday, October 27, 2014

the shape of jazz to come

Ornette Coleman established the avante-garde in jazz with the unconventional improvisation and atonal acrobatics of this controversial free jazz milestone.   Coleman had challenged listeners with his first two albums ('Something Else!!!!' and 'Tomorrow Is the Question!') on Contemporary Records; but for his third release he took things even further.  With his second album, he did away with the pianist, a standard in jazz.  For 'The Shape of Jazz to Come', he did away with chord structure, utilizing a brief theme before launching into uncharted territory.  The album was his first after signing a deal with Atlantic Records, which John Lewis from the Modern Jazz Quartet helped him secure.  

Coleman looks back:   "Before becoming known as a musician, when I worked in a big department store, one day, during my lunch break, I came across a gallery where someone had painted a very rich white woman who had absolutely everything that you could desire in life, and she had the most solitary expression in the world. I had never been confronted with such solitude, and when I got back home, I wrote a piece that I called "Lonely Woman."

'The Shape of Jazz to Come' was recorded in Los Angeles at Radio Records, Inc with producer Nesuhi Ertegun and features the quartet of Ornette Coleman on alto saxophone;  Don Cherry on cornet;  Charlie Haden on bass;  and Billy Higgins on drums.  

 Coleman considers:  "The idea is that two or three people can have a conversation with sounds, without trying to dominate or lead it. What I mean is that you have to be… intelligent, I suppose that’s the word. In improvised music I think the musicians are trying to reassemble an emotional or intellectual puzzle in which the instruments give the tone. It’s primarily the piano that has served at all times as the framework in music, but it’s no longer indispensable and, in fact, the commercial aspect of music is very uncertain. Commercial music is not necessarily more accessible, but it is limited...For me, being an innovator doesn't mean being more intelligent, more rich, it's not a word, it's an action. Since it hasn't been done, there's no use talking about it...It interests me more to have a human relationship with you than a musical relationship.  I want to see if I can express myself in worlds, in sound that have to do with a human relationship.  At the same time, I would like to be able to speak of teh relationship between two talents, between two doings.  For me, the human relationship is mush more beautiful, because it allows you to gain the freedom that you desire, for youself and for the other."

'The Shape of Jazz to Come'
full album:

All compositions by Ornette Coleman.

Side one
1. "Lonely Woman"   4:59
2. "Eventually"   4:20
3. "Peace"   9:04
Side two
1. "Focus on Sanity"   6:50
2. "Congeniality"   6:41
3. "Chronology"   6:05


"Monk and the Nun"

"Just for You"

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