Record Label: Wax Time
An aptly titled 1959 release, this was one of the first "free jazz" albums ever. A classic!
On this highly influential 1959 album, Ornette Coleman's unique writing style and idiosyncratic solo language forever changed the jazz landscape. On classics such as "Lonely Woman," "Congeniality," and "Focus on Sanity," Coleman used the tunes' moods and melodic contours, rather than their chords, as a basis for his improvisations. In so doing, he opened up jazz soloing immensely and ushered in new freedoms--both individually and collectively. Lest these innovations sound too dry or abstract, it must be noted that both Coleman and trumpeter Don Cherry play with a deep-felt emotion and joy that is as infectious today as it was then. This is truly an essential jazz recording, marking the end of one era, providing the blueprint for the next. --Wally Shoup