Ornette Coleman – The Shape Of Jazz To Come (Full Album)

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The Shape of Jazz to Come is the third album by jazz musician Ornette Coleman. Although Coleman initially wished for the album to be titled Focus on Sanity, after one of the songs on the album, it was ultimately titled The Shape of Jazz to Come at the urging of Atlantic producer Nesuhi Ertegun, who felt that the title would give consumers “an idea about the uniqueness of the LP.” Released on Atlantic Records in 1959, it was his debut on the label and his first album featuring his working quartet including himself, trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Billy Higgins. The recording session for the album took place on May 22, 1959, at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, California. Two outtakes from the session, “Monk and the Nun” and “Just for You”, would later be released respectively on the 1970s compilations Twins and The Art of the Improvisers. In 2012, the Library of Congress added the album to the National Recording Registry (Wikipedia).

AllMusic Review by Steve Huey:
Ornette Coleman’s Atlantic debut, The Shape of Jazz to Come, was a watershed event in the genesis of avant-garde jazz, profoundly steering its future course and throwing down a gauntlet that some still haven’t come to grips with. The record shattered traditional concepts of harmony in jazz, getting rid of not only the piano player but the whole idea of concretely outlined chord changes. The pieces here follow almost no predetermined harmonic structure, which allows Coleman and partner Don Cherry an unprecedented freedom to take the melodies of their solo lines wherever they felt like going in the moment, regardless of what the piece’s tonal center had seemed to be. Plus, this was the first time Coleman recorded with a rhythm section — bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins — that was loose and open-eared enough to follow his already controversial conception. Coleman’s ideals of freedom in jazz made him a feared radical in some quarters; there was much carping about his music flying off in all directions, with little direct relation to the original theme statements. If only those critics could have known how far out things would get in just a few short years; in hindsight, it’s hard to see just what the fuss was about, since this is an accessible, frequently swinging record. It’s true that Coleman’s piercing, wailing alto squeals and vocalized effects weren’t much beholden to conventional technique, and that his themes often followed unpredictable courses, and that the group’s improvisations were very free-associative. But at this point, Coleman’s desire for freedom was directly related to his sense of melody — which was free-flowing, yes, but still very melodic. Of the individual pieces, the haunting “Lonely Woman” is a stone-cold classic, and “Congeniality” and “Peace” aren’t far behind. Any understanding of jazz’s avant-garde should begin here (http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-shape-of-jazz-to-come-mw0000187968).

Track listing:
All compositions by Ornette Coleman.
Side one:
No. Title Length
1. “Lonely Woman” 4:59
2. “Eventually” 4:20
3. “Peace” 9:04
Side two:
No. Title Length
1. “Focus on Sanity” 6:50
2. “Congeniality” 6:41
3. “Chronology” 6:05

Personnel:
Ornette Coleman – alto saxophone
Don Cherry – cornet
Charlie Haden – bass
Billy Higgins – drums

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