Cincinnati Babyhead

Speaks his mind on music & movies!

Jazz Record : Ornette Coleman – The Shape Of Jazz To Come

‘The Shape Of Jazz To Come’ was recommended to me at the same time as Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’. At the time I was getting deeper into the jazz pool. This record is not traditional music of that genre. Way more free form and Avant guard. It was and is the improvisational music I was leaning towards.

This was my first taste of this style. Coltrane was a departure and a door opener. Ornette was a further departure. His playing and his music was a different dose for me but it worked. I was stretching my musical boundaries and this was really stretching them. A continuation of the music I found with ‘Bitches Brew’ etc. Coleman on alto and Don Cherry on cornet are carrying the torch Parker and Gillespie lit a few years earlier. I still hadn’t discovered that early bop music when I first heard this.

It’s hard for a non musician (Like CB) to do this music justice with words and I really shouldn’t try but what I will say is that this music took me. I let my ear follow the music, it wasn’t hard. There are a lot of changes and different tempos etc. Sometimes the music flows smoothly and other times it takes off in a burst of energy and inspiration but it always holds my attention.

Like i say I’m not an expert on this music but one thing I know is the musicians on this album can play. I listened to the album recently and it brought back memories of when I first listened to it. I can hear why it wouldn’t be easy accessible but for me it just grabs my music bone. Ear bone. I was and am still taken by it. I listened to it a lot when I first bought it and thought maybe I had to force myself to like it because I forked over a few bucks for a copy. Not the case. I liked it.

The music was recorded in 1959 and sounded new and fresh to me when I bought it in late 70s early 80s. It sounded modern to me. Not dated. Repeating myself. All the music I had been listening to like Miles, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Zappa, Yes, Return To Forever, KC etc was opening up my mind and ear to this stuff.

Shapes is a musical journey. It is for me. I can see how this music rubs people but I also get how it appeals because that’s what it does to me. I love improv and jams and this is an album of those things. When I get a craving for this kind of music this is one of the records I reach for. It opened my mind up for even more music. Ornette shares the spotlight, especially with Cherry. Billy Higgins on drums and Charlie Haden on bass keep up the quality. They still swing with cuts like ‘Congeniality’.

The person who recommended this album to me knew or had an idea that I would dig it. They were right. If you give it a go it might open up a whole ocean of music.

Hey Neil. I finally pulled the trigger on Ornette. You probably thought I was bullshitting. Charlie don’t surf and CB don’t lie (well maybe sometimes).

49 comments on “Jazz Record : Ornette Coleman – The Shape Of Jazz To Come

  1. hotfox63
    September 26, 2021

    No free jazz yet, but it should become soon. Ornette Coleman already had his own aesthetic before. “Lonely Woman” is for me one of the most captivating slow pieces in jazz.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      September 26, 2021

      Great cut Fox. I was going to post it but went an other way.
      (Hey. Ive been to your place but cant leave comments. Is that my end that is not letting me?)

      Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        September 27, 2021

        “The Shape of Jazz to Come” – that was certainly not exaggerated when the album came out in 1959.
        (Sorry CB, but I deleted the comment function on my site for a while!)

        Like

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        September 27, 2021

        Yes the foresight was there.
        (No problem. Dig the music you posted)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. the press music reviews
    September 26, 2021

    Nice review. Look forward to tracking this down. Have only dabbled in OC.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. deKE
    September 26, 2021

    Awesome you can do a deep dive into the jazz pool CB.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. hanspostcard
    September 26, 2021

    I enjoy a little jazz now and then- but far from being very knowledgeable- but I have a couple Ornette Coleman CD- and pretty good stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yeah, Another Blogger
    September 26, 2021

    What, you maybe sometimes lie? Nah, you shoot straight.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. christiansmusicmusings
    September 26, 2021

    I suppose you won’t be shocked I had not heard of Ornette Coleman before. He seems to have been a true free jazz pioneer. That’s impressive in and of itself!

    It’s certainly very improvisational and not the type of music you can fully appreciate just by sampling a few tracks. My pop-influenced brain would definitely need to spend more time with it to process this music! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      September 26, 2021

      Interesting thing. Check out Charlie Haden (bass player). He did a an album ‘”Family and Friends – Rambling Boy’. Our friend Fox tuned me onto it. Totally out of left field. Had no idea Charlie was bent that way and Ive been listening to him for years.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Francisco Bravo Cabrera
    September 26, 2021

    This is a masterpiece of improvisational jazz. I see what you mean about Coltrane, after all he did start the movement, especially in Ascension, a masterpiece that I strongly recommend. And Coleman, a genuine master. Great choice CB as always! Cheers for the great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      September 26, 2021

      I figured you’d be on this one. I know the Coltrane tune well. I love this stuff. It takes me and I have a hard time breaking away to listen to other music. Thanks for dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. greenpete58
    September 26, 2021

    I have a small (microscopic) collection of free jazz albums, and this is one of them. I guess it was a logical end point of my jazz explorations, but I have to be honest and say I don’t enjoy it that much. Wikipedia says this record “abandons the use of chord structures,” and maybe that’s why it’s a difficult listen for me. Non-musical music? Miles Davis didn’t like Coleman, either, so I don’t feel too bad! Oddly, I like some of Coltrane’s experimental work, though not sure why.

    Like

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      September 26, 2021

      Funny how the ear works. Sometimes this music just grabs me. Coltrane’s music especially the later stuff that you’re talking about can hold me for days.
      Ornette was in a pretty big club if Miles didnt like him. Davis was lurking around in a couple shots of the Ali doc I just watched. Coltrane was also playing on the soundtrack.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jim S.
    September 26, 2021

    I envy your ability to get 19 comments on a jazz album. I post on more accessible stuff like Metheny and I get 6, pretty much you and me and then a bunch of likes. I’ll leave jazz to you from now on and handle rock and blues, assuming I even bother at all anymore.

    Like

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      September 26, 2021

      Half those comments are mine. I remember a long time ago you commented on why I separated jazz albums from the rest . No good reason. It’s all in my music pile. It’s not a case of us trying to sell it but just getting the word out on how much we dig it. Not as accessible as other styles but man do I listen to it a lot. Keep chuggin fella. You have lots of takes left in ya.

      Like

      • Jim S.
        September 26, 2021

        Actually I don’t. I have 1100 followers, 3 of whom ever comment – you, Aphoristical and Christian. All good guys. But I can’t keep spending hours and hours and hours writing this shit for 3 people and a bunch of people sitting around with their ducks in their hands. I have a couple more to then I’m going on a long hiatus. If I miss it, I’ll think about doing it once in a while. If nor, fuck it. I started my blog to talk about music not so that a bunch of lazy fucking douchebags could click ‘like.’ I can find better ways to expend that energy. I’ll let you carry the flag. I’m done.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        September 27, 2021

        I enjoy your takes

        Like

      • Jim S.
        September 27, 2021

        CB makes me bawl with gratitude.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        September 27, 2021

        Cry baby cry.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jim S.
        September 27, 2021

        Now check out today’s New Music Revue. There is a tune – I won’t say which one – that I think has C to the B written all over it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        September 27, 2021

        I will get to them for sure. Later when I can give a good listen.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        September 27, 2021

        CB is noted for his due diligence.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. msjadeli
    September 26, 2021

    I like when they all play together, but the bulk of this tune, where Ornette hot-dogs it, doesn’t do it for me. I do like the solo part as a look-what-I-can-do sampler — which is impressive — however. Please take my jazz newbie opinion with a grain of salt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      September 26, 2021

      No need for the salt Lisa. We all come at this from a different place. I hear you on the “hot-dog” thing but it doesnt hit me that way. They all like to stretch out and the good ones always give room to their group mates. Thanks for dropping the comment. Hey, when it comes to jazz I still feel like a “newbie”

      Liked by 1 person

  11. keepsmealive
    September 27, 2021

    Brother, you know I love this. Love love love.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. 1537
    September 30, 2021

    Brilliant call this CB. It is way out there but somehow still accessible too, it doesn’t frighten non-crazy jazzers like me off at all. Ornette is an incredible dude, nice man too by all accounts, a friend of mine met him at a festival he promoted and had a great chat with him about all sorts of stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      October 1, 2021

      I hear ya. So good to hear he’s a nice fella (I think I heard that before in my travels). Love that kind of first hand experience. I’d like to be sitting at a festival listening to him right now. I like that “all sorts of stuff”. His band mate Haden liked to talk hockey. Big LA KIngs fan.

      Like

  13. Jim S.
    October 3, 2021

    Finally got around to listening to this. Based on his reputation, I was expecting some wild fucking “outside” shit. I guess maybe they felt that way in 1959 when it was released. But this sounds pretty mainstream now. Really digging it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. badfinger20 (Max)
    October 17, 2021

    As much as I love the electric bass…you can’t beat the sound of a stand up bass/double bass. Some of the best music comes out of improv and jamming. You do things that you would never do in a structured environment. Like I’ve said before…this music takes me away…I couldn’t break it down though…that is above me…it’s just cool to listen to.

    Like

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      October 17, 2021

      A young Charlie Haden on bass. Highly respected in the music word. He did an album called ‘Rambling Boy’. Back to his roots. I had no idea about this side of him. Fox turned me onto it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • badfinger20 (Max)
        October 17, 2021

        Of course I tune in on the bass…just a habit…it sounds like a free for all in all the right ways.

        Like

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