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Ornette Coleman's "The Shape of Jazz to Come"
November 5, 2011 8:31 PM   Subscribe


 
Awesome videoclip. I was rather startled to discover that Ornette Coleman is still alive. And that 1959 is still futuristic.
posted by binturong at 8:55 PM on November 5, 2011


Fan-fucking-tastic Trurl, one of my favorite albums.
posted by Chekhovian at 9:10 PM on November 5, 2011


Thanks, Truri!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:25 PM on November 5, 2011


The Shape of Jazz to Come sounds as fresh today as ever. I can't even begin to guess what it must have sounded like to 1959 ears.

Also, Kind Of Blue, Mingus Ah Um, Time Out and Shape of Jazz all in the same year. Wow.
posted by khaibit at 9:28 PM on November 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Lonely Woman is my most favorite Ornette piece
from his early period.
This is such a unique time for music.
...and Ornette is such a unique person.
posted by quazichimp at 10:03 PM on November 5, 2011


Lonely Woman is my most favorite Ornette piece
from his early period.


It's surely one of the most hauntingly beautiful and elegant melodies to have ever come out of jazz.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:05 AM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I saw Ornette at the South Bank in London a couple of years ago (with three bass players) and he still plays "Lonely Woman".
posted by nja at 12:36 AM on November 6, 2011


Also: in the supermarket earlier this year I bought a cheap 3-CD set called "The Art of Jazz: 1959's Greatest Year", for I think about a fiver. Kind of Blue, Blue Train, Everybody Digs Bill Evans, Time Out, Mingus Ah Um, and The Shape of Jazz to Come - some of them missing one or two tracks to squeeze two albums on one CD, but what a bargain, and what an amazing year (four of them featured in the documentary linked above). If someone was new to jazz and wanted to get started, those six albums would be as good an introduction to the range and styles of postwar jazz as any. Ellington was still on top form too - Back to Back and Side by Side were recorded that year.
posted by nja at 1:06 AM on November 6, 2011


You know, Mingus's Fables of Faubus deserves its own post.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:34 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, Mingus's Fables of Faubus deserves its own post.

There's never been a bassist/drummer team as rhythmically telepathic as Mingus and Dannie Richmond, and Fable of Faubus is a perfect illustration of that. Those two gentlemen were of one rhythmic mind.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:55 AM on November 6, 2011


It's worth watching the whole documentary - it also covers Time Out, Kind of Blue and Mingus Ah Um.

Coleman curated the Meltdown Festival on the South Bank in London a few years ago - saw him and his bass players (with Bill Frisell) and a couple of days later saw Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra with Robert Wyatt singing, which was a big thing for me. Also Charlie Haden just radiates niceness.
posted by Grangousier at 4:05 AM on November 6, 2011


There's never been a bassist/drummer team as rhythmically telepathic as Mingus and Dannie Richmond, and Fable of Faubus is a perfect illustration of that.

That's an interesting comment in a thread featuring Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins!
posted by Wolof at 4:28 AM on November 6, 2011


That's an interesting comment in a thread featuring Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins!

Haha! Don't mean to take anything away from other great jazz rhythm teams! Still, for my money, what Mingus and Richmond had was still of another order: a deep ESP.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:51 AM on November 6, 2011


No doubt about it at all, man, just to me those early Ornette discs are the definition of ESP. Those guys are out there on a wire. Mingus and Richmond I agree were definitely made for each other — the evidence is abundant and public.
posted by Wolof at 5:08 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I first heard "The Shape of Jazz to Come" in about 1991, and it seriously messed with my head. Still does, actually. I can't imagine what it must have sounded like in '59.
posted by Gilbert at 6:26 AM on November 6, 2011


This BBC doc is fantastic! Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

The first jazz album I ever bought was Ornette Colman's Free Jazz. That was a bit jumping into the deep end. But it was hard to look back after that. From there, I started eating into the crazier end of that era of jazz. Fell in love with John Coltrane after hearing the performance of "Crescent" that's on the Live in Japan album...that thing's like an hour long and is indulgent and awesome. Still probably my favorite Coltrane number.

As much as I love The Shape of Jazz to Come, the stuff that came after--I'm looking mostly at Science Fiction--is what really gets me. "What Reason Could I Give" is one of my favorite songs ever committed to magnetic tape.
posted by Maaik at 6:40 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Big thanks for posting this and making me revisit Shape of Jazz to Come. Like others here, I had "moved on" to later Ornette and just listened to this again for the first time in years. I forgot how utterly wonderful it is.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 4:28 PM on November 6, 2011


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