ORNETTE COLEMAN — The Shape of Jazz to Come (aka Le Jazz De Demain) (review)

ORNETTE COLEMAN — The Shape of Jazz to Come (aka Le Jazz De Demain) album cover Album · 1959 · Post Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
The first thing I thought after listening to this album for the very first time was – why is this considered so shocking? After hearing my share of extreme metal, progressive rock, avant-garde and indie rock and even avant jazz such as John Zorn, this actually seemed pretty tame. Then it hit me. This came out in 1959 – the “Leave It To Beaver” years. A long time before all that other stuff. I wasn't even close to being a twinkle in my parents' eyes and had to put myself in the context of the time.

Somehow jazz had morphed from the frantic fantastic tapestry of Dixieland Jazz of the 20s and the complexity had been tamed and shined into perfect marketable packages. The big bands of the 40s and bop of the 50s were enjoyable listens for their controlled uniformity but after years of sameness, it must have been getting a little cliché. Then 1959 hit and several notable releases by Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck and Ornette Coleman changed the music landscape forever. Of the previously mentioned Coleman was the one who released the first avant-garde jazz release. This was very daring and profound and shook up the world of jazz and influenced the freeness that would eventually explode in the 60s.

Although I didn't find this shocking in the least, I did find it a great listen. It is still rooted in the traditional bop of the 50s but gave permission to break free from the expected phrasing that accompanied it. Although I haven't explored much of Ornette's canon, I am very eager to do so after hearing this landmark release.
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