February 2, 2015

Ornette Coleman - Free Jazz (1960)

A hard review to tackle. No musical direction given whatsoever. On your right speaker is an appropriately recruited Eric Dolphy playing bass clarinet, a very young Freddie Hubbard just trying to make money, and a few Coleman regulars Charlie Haden and Ed Blackwell. In the left channel you'll hear Ornette and Don Cherry with Scott Lafaro and Billy Higgins who were both awesome for Coleman and others. A lot of the time the music is pretty dense, as you'd imagine eight musicians playing at a time would be, but they're not trying to overpower to compensate for inexperience like Coltrane's young band does on Ascension. This seasoned double quartet stays loose and feeds off of each other for so much creativity. After about 5 or so minutes in a good atmosphere you'll begin to settle in with the music and hopefully begin to love hearing the different semi-solos and hopefully pick up on this band's telepathy. The soothing feel of Free Jazz works so well because of the Coleman/Dolphy leadership, classic Atlantic engineering, and the dual sponge of LaFaro and Haden absorbing all this craziness and making it so receptive and fruitful. Hopefully needless to say, this is one of the most influential pieces of music for jazz and other things and made free jazz a term.


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