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The Shape Of Jazz To Come

   Artist: Ornette Coleman
Label: Atlantic
Orig. Released:
Catalog No.: LPATLA1317
Condition: Sealed-Reissue
Format: LP

Retail Price: $ 9.75 (0 available)
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Description

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Track Titles

A1. LONELY WOMAN (4:59)
A2. EVENTUALLY (4:20)
A3. PEACE (9:04)

B1. FOCUS ON SANITY (6:50)
B2. CONGENIALITY (6:41)
B3. CHRONOLOGY (6:05)


 

Liner Notes
I BELIEVE THAT WHAT ORNETTE COLEMAN IS PLAYING WILL AFFECT THE WHOLE CHARACTER OF JAZZ MUSIC PROFOUNDLY AND PERVASIVELY, BUT I AM NOT UNIQUE OR ORIGINAL IN BELIEVING THAT WHAT HE IS DOING IS NEW AND AUTHENTIC. FOR TWO EXAMPLES, PERCY HEATH, BASSIST WITH THE MODERN JAZZ QUARTET, HAS BEEN PRAISING HIM FOR OVER TWO YEARS, OFTEN TO DEAF EARS. "WHEN I FIRST HEARD ORNETTE AND DON CHERRY, I ASKED, "WHAT ARE THEY DOING", BUT ALMOST IMMEDIATELY IT HIT ME. IT WAS LIKE HEARING CHARLIE PARKER THE FIRST TIME: IT'S EXCITING AND DIFFERENT, AND THEN YOU REALIZE IT'S A REALLY NEW APPROACH AND IT MAKES A REALLY VALID MUSIC." AND JOHN LEWIS, PIANIST AND MUSICAL DIRECTOR OF THE QUARTET SAID LAST WINTER AFTER HEARING HIM, "ORNETTE COLEMAN IS DOING THE ONLY REALLY NEW THING IN JAZZ SINCE THE INNOVATIONS IN THE MID-FORTIES OF DIZZY GILLESPIE, CHARLIE PARKER, AND THOSE OF THELONIOUS MONK." WHAT ORNETTE COLEMAN PLAYS CAN BE VERY BEAUTIFUL AND IT CAN HAVE THAT RARE QUALITY OF REACHING OUT AND TOUCHING EACH MEMBER OF AN AUDIENCE INDIVIDUALLY. HIS MELODIES ARE UNUSUAL, BUT THEY HAVE NONE OF THE HARSHNESS OF SELF-CONSCIOUS "EXPERIMENTAL" BORROWINGS. WHEN WE HEAR HIM HE CREATES FOR OUR EARS, HEARTS, AND MINDS A NEW SENSIBILITY. IT IS PROBABLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR ORNETTE COLEMAN TO DISCUSS MUSIC WITHOUT SOONER OR LATER USING THE WORD LOVE AND HE HAS SAID, WITH THE INNATE MODESTY WITH WHICH HE SEEMS TO SAY EVERYTHING, "MUSIC IS FOR OUR FEELINGS. I THINK JAZZ SHOULD TRY TO EXPRESS MORE KINDS OF FEELING THAN IT HAS UP TO NOW. HE KNOWS WELL, THEN, THE SOURCE AND REASON FOR HIS MUSIC. HE ALSO KNOWS THAT HE DOES NOT "OWN" IT HIMSELF, NOR "INVENT" IT, BUT IS RESPONSIBLE TO SOMETHING GIVEN TO HIM. AS IS SO NECESSARY WITH AN INNOVATOR IN THE BEGINNING, HE IS NOT AFRAID TO PLAY WHATEVER HIS MUSE TELLS HIM TO PLAY: "I DON'T KNOW HOW IT'S GOING TO SOUND BEFORE I PLAY IT ANY MORE THAN ANYBODY ELSE DOES, SO HOW CAN WE TALK ABOUT IT BEFORE I PLAY IT." WHAT HE HAS DONE IS, LIKE ALL VALID INNOVATIONS, BASICALLY SIMPLE, AUTHENTIC, AND INEVITABLE, BUT WE SEE THAT ONLY ONCE SOMEONE OF A SUBLIME STUBBORNNESS LIKE COLEMAN'S DOES IT. THE BASIS OF IT IS THIS: IF YOU PUT A CONVENTIONAL CHORD UNDER MY NOTE, YOU LIMIT THE NUMBER OF CHOICES I HAVE FOR MY NEXT NOTE; IF YOU DO NOT, MY MELODY MAY MOVE FREELY IN A FAR GREATER CHOICE OF DIRECTIONS. AS HE SAYS OF HIS IMPROVISING, "FOR ME, IF I AM JUST GOING TO USE THE CHANGES THEMSELVES, I MIGHT AS WELL WRITE OUR WHAT I AM GOING TO PLAY." THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT HIS MUSIC IS "AHARMONIC" AS IS THE MUSIC OF A "COUNTRY" BLUES SINGER, A SONNY TERRY OR A BIG BILL BROONZY; NOR THAT HE INVITES DISORDER. HE CAN WORK THROUGH AND BEYOND THE FURTHEST INTERVALS OF THE CHORDS, AND HE HAS SAID, "FROM REALIZING THAT I CAN MAKE MISTAKES, I HAVE COME TO REALIZE THERE IS AN ORDER TO WHAT I DO" WHICH, AMONG OTHER THINGS, IS AS GOOD A DEFINITION OF MATURITY AS I HAVE EVER HEARD. AS SEVERAL DEVELOPMENTS IN JAZZ IN THE LAST FEW YEARS HAVE SHOWN, NO ONE REALLY NEEDS TO STATE ALL THOSE CHORDS THAT NEARLY EVERYONE USES, AND AS SOME EVENTS HAVE SHOWN, IF SOMEONE DOES STATE THEM OR IF A SOLOIST IMPLIES THEM, HE MAY END UP WITH A HARASSED RUNNING UP AND DOWN SCALES AT THOSE "ADVANCED" INTERVALS LIKE A RAT IN A HARMONIC MAZE. SOMEONE HAD TO BREAK THROUGH THE WALLS THAT THOSE HARMONIES HAVE BUILT AND RESTORE MELODY BUT, AGAIN, WE REALIZE THIS ONLY AFTER AN ORNETTE COLEMAN HAS BEGUN TO DO IT. SINCE THE WORLD OF JAZZ HAS BEEN THICKLY POPULATED WITH FALSE PROPHETS FOR THE PAST TEN YEARS, COLEMAN MAY NEED HIS CREDENTIALS AND IT SEEMS TO ME THAT AMONG THEM ARE THESE: LIKE THE IMPORTANT INNOVATORS IN JAZZ, HE MAINTAINS AN INNATE BALANCE AMONG RHYTHM AND HARMONY AND MELODIC LINE. IN JAZZ, THESE THREE ARE REALLY AN IDENTITY, AND ANY CHANGE IN ONE OF THEM WITHOUT INTRINSIC RESHUFFLING IN THE OTHERS INVARIABLY RISKS FAILURE. FURTHER, HE WORKS IN TERMS OF DEVELOPING THE SPECIFIC, IMPLICIT RESOURCES OF JAZZ, NOR BY WHOLESALE IMPORTATIONS FROM CONCERT MUSIC. LIKE MOST OF THE GREAT ONES, COLEMAN HAS A DEEP AND PERSONAL FEELING FOR THE BLUES WHICH IS UNMISTAKABLE. PEACE SEEMS TO ME A LOVELY EXAMPLE OF THAT, AND OF HOW HIS PLAYING ADDS TO THE EMOTIONAL RANGE OF JAZZ. THESE THINGS, AND THE FACT THAT HE BREAKS THROUGH THE USUAL THIRTY-TWO, SIXTEEN, AND TWELVE BAR FORMS BOTH IN HIS COMPOSITIONS AND IN HIS IMPROVISING, ALL SPRING FROM AN INNER MUSICAL NECESSITY, NOT FROM AN OUTER ACADEMIC CONTRIVANCE. I THINK THAT COMPOSITIONALLY CONGENIALITY IS AN EXCELLENT INTRODUCTION TO MANY OF THESE THINGS, TO THE AUTHENTICITY OF HIS WORK AND THE WAY HE IS EXTENDING THE WHOLE IDEA OF INSTRUMENTAL COMPOSITION IN JAZZ. FINALLY, TO SAY (AS SOME HAVE) THAT THE SOLOS ON SUCH A PIECE DO NOT HAVE A RELATIONSHIP TO HIS MELODIES IS QUITE WRONG. AS A MATTER OF FACT, MOST JAZZ SOLOS ARE NOT RELATED TO THEIR THEME-MELODIES, BUT TO THE CHORDS WITH WHICH THE THEMES ARE HARMONIZED. COLEMAN AND CHERRY MAY RELATE TO THE EMOTION, THE PITCH, THE RHYTHM, THE MELODY OF A THEME, WITHOUT RELATING TO "CHORDS" OR BAR DIVISIONS. TO A LISTENER SUCH RELATIONSHIPS CAN HAVE EVEN MORE MEANING THAN THE USUAL HARMONIC ONES. ORNETTE COLEMAN STARTED TO PLAY ALTO IN 1944, WHEN HE WAS FOURTEEN, IN FORT WORTH, TEXAS. HE REMAINS LARGELY SELF-TAUGHT ON HIS INSTRUMENT, BUT INSPIRED BY A COUSIN, JAMES JORDAN, WHO WAS A MUSIC TEACHER IN AUSTIN, HE STUDIED BOOKS ON HARMONY AND THEORY QUITE EARLY AND THOROUGHLY. ONE OF HIS EARLIEST INFLUENCES WAS RED CONNOR WHO HAD PLAYED WITH CHARLIE PARKER AND WHO, ACCORDING TO COLEMAN, PLAYED THEN THE WAY SONNY ROLLINS AND JOHN COLTRANE DO NOW. COLEMAN HAS ALSO HEARD AND ADMIRED ALTOIST BUSTER SMITH, WHO NOW WORKS IN DALLAS, AND SMITH WAS, AS PARKER SAID, "THE GUY I REALLY DUG." EARLY JOBS INCLUDED CARNIVAL AND RHYTHM AND BLUES BANDS FROM WHICH HE WAS USUALLY DISCHARGED FOR PLAYING SOMETHING THE LEADER DIDN'T LIKE. ONCE IN NEW ORLEANS A CROWD SMASHED HIS INSTRUMENT, APPARENTLY BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T LIKE HIS PLAYING. 1952 FOUND HIM STRANDED IN LOS ANGELES, WHERE MUSICIANS AT SESSIONS WOULD TELL HIM HE DIDN'T KNOW HARMONY AND WAS OUT OF TUNE. AFTER A RETURN TO FORT WORTH, HE WENT BACK TO LOS ANGELES IN 1954; THAT WAS THE CRUCIAL YEAR FOR HIM, WHEN HE REALLY BROKE THROUGH TO THE FREEDOM THAT HAS CHARACTERIZED HIS WORK SINCE. STILL DISAPPROVED OF, HE SUPPORTED HIMSELF AND HIS WIFE JAYNE, AND SOON A SON, WITH DAY JOBS WHILE HE STUCK TO HIS CONVICTIONS ABOUT MUSIC. IN 1956, HE MET TRUMPETER DONALD CHERRY, WHO GRASPED WHAT COLEMAN WAS DOING, AND BEGAN MUSICALLY TO BREATHE AS HE BREATHES. CHERRY, WHO IS SIX YEARS YOUNGER THAN COLEMAN, MOVED FROM OKLAHOMA CITY TO LOS ANGELES AT FOUR, AND HAS GIGGED WITH PROFESSIONALS SINCE 1951. BASSIST CHARLIE HADEN IS MORE THAN AN ASSET TO THIS RECITAL; HE TOO HAS GRASPED THE ESSENTIALS OF ORNETTE'S MUSIC AND CONTRIBUTES TO IT. IN HIS WORK HERE, I THINK ONE CAN SEE MOST CLEARLY AT LEAST ONE OF THE THINGS THAT COLEMAN'S MUSIC HAS ALREADY ACHIEVED IN GROUP IMPROVISING. BY ABANDONING CONVENTIONAL BASS POSITIONS AND THE USUAL IDEAS OF HARMONIC BASS LINES, HE HAS FOUND FOR HIMSELF AND HIS INSTRUMENT THE PITCH IN WHICH A PIECE AND THE IMPROVISORS ARE PLAYING (ORNETTE SOMETIMES WROTE OUT A BASS RANGE FOR HIM), HIS BASS FORMS A PERCUSSIVE-MELODIC PART THAT PARTICIPATES MUCH MORE DIRECTLY IN THE MUSIC, RATHER THAN FUNCTIONING AS A CONTRIBUTING "ACCOMPANIMENT'. HEAR HIM ESPECIALLY ON LONELY WOMAN. FINALLY, DRUMMER BILLY HIGGINS, WHO WAS BROUGHT INTO THE GROUP BY DON CHERRY, CAN SHIFT TEMPOS AND PLAY FREELY AROUND THE RHYTHM AND TIME WHILE MAINTAINING THE BASIC MOVEMENT OF, AND SWING OF, A JAZZ BEAT. THE TITLES TO THESE INSTRUMENTAL COMPOSITIONS ARE NEITHER THE USUAL IRONIES OR THROW-AWAY, BUT ARC INTENDED TO MEAN WHAT THEY SAY. CONGENIALITY, FOR EXAMPLE, WAS ORIGINALLY NAMED FOR A WANDERING PREACHER BUT, COLEMAN SAYS, "I'M NOT A PREACHER, I'M A MUSICIAN, SO I NAMED IT FOR WHAT I THINK A MUSICIAN FEELS TOWARD AN AUDIENCE." THE TAPES FOR THIS LP WERE EDITED DURING THE THIRD SUMMER SESSION OF THE SCHOOL OF JAZZ AT MUSIC INN IN LENOX, MASS., WHERE ORNETTE AND DONALD CHERRY WERE STUDENTS. ORNETTE ASKED GUNTHER SCHULLER, WHO IS A COMPOSER AND FRENCH HORN PLAYER IN BOTH JAZZ AND CLASSICAL IDIOMS, PRACTICING JAZZ CRITIC, AND INSTRUCTOR AT THE SCHOOL, FOR HELP IN THE EDITING. SCHULLER'S REMARKS ON ORNETTE WILL FOLLOW BUT BECAUSE OF WHAT HE SAYS I WILL PREFACE THEM BY THE NOTE THAT HIS (SCHULLER'S) OWN WORKS HAVE BEEN PRAISED FOR "ONE OF THE MOST IMMACULATE SENSES OF FORM IN CONTEMPORARY COMPOSITION." HE SAYS, "PERHAPS THE MOST OUTSTANDING ELEMENT IN ORNETTE'S MUSICAL CONCEPTION IS AN UTTER AND COMPLETE FREEDOM. HIS MUSICAL INSPIRATION OPERATES IN A WORLD UNCLUTTERED BY CONVENTIONAL BAR LINES, CONVENTIONAL CHORD CHANGES, AND CONVENTIONAL WAYS OF BLOWING OR FINGERING A SAXOPHONE. SUCH PRACTICAL 'LIMITATIONS' DID NOT EVEN HAVE TO BE OVERCOME IN HIS MUSIC; THEY SOMEHOW NEVER EXISTED FOR HIM. DESPITE THIS OR MORE ACCURATELY, BECAUSE OF THIS HIS PLAYING HAS A DEEP INNER LOGIC. NOT AN OBVIOUS SURFACE LOGIC, IT IS BASED ON SUBTLETIES OF REACTION, SUBTLETIES OF TIMING AND COLOR THAT ARE, I THINK, QUITE NEW TO JAZZ AT LEAST THEY HAVE NEVER APPEARED IN SO PURE AND DIRECT A FORM. ORNETTE'S MUSICAL LANGUAGE IS THE PRODUCT OF A MATURE MAN WHO MUST SPEAK THROUGH HIS HORN. EVERY NOTE SEEMS TO BE BORN OUT OF A NEED TO COMMUNICATE. I DON'T THINK ORNETTE COULD EVER PLAY AT PLAYING AS SO MANY JAZZMEN DO. THE MUSIC SITS TOO DEEPLY IN HIM FOR THAT, AND ALL THESE QUALITIES ARE THE MORE STARTLING BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT ONLY IMBUED WITH A PROFOUND LOVE AND KNOWLEDGE OF JAZZ TRADITION, BUT ARE THE FIRST NEW REALIZATION OF ALL THAT IS IMPLICIT IN THE MUSIC OF CHARLIE PARKER." MARTIN WILLIAMS, CO-EDITOR, THE JAZZ REVIEW
Musicians
PERSONNEL ORNETTE COLEMAN, ALTO SAX; DONALD CHERRY, CORNET; CHARLIE HADEN, BASS; BILLY HIGGINS, DRUMS. RECORDING ENGINEERS: BONES HOWE COVER PHOTO: WILLIAM CLAXTON COVER DESIGN: MARVIN ISRAEL SUPERVISION: NESUHI ERTEGUN
 
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