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Beauty is a rare thing.

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You probably have heard or read something of the music we are playing and if you haven’t we would like to invite you into our musical world. First, the most important part of our music is the improvisation, which is done as spontaneously as possible, with each man contributing his musical expression to create the form.

Now — a little about the music called jazz. First it’s the player. In classical music it’s the composer. In jazz the composer is needed also, but it’s the player who makes jazz so invaluable.

So read the liner notes to The Ornette Coleman Quartet’s 1960 release, This Is Our Music. In 1959, Ornette Coleman was merely a newcomer to the American Jazz scene with his watershed release on Atlantic Records, The Shape Of Jazz To Come. And, oh, what a prophetic title it was.

The Shape Of Jazz To Come may sound tame to our ears today, but at the time the lack of a solid chord structure and wild and free improvisation was a sharp departure from the bebop of the era. Initially hailed by many as a talentless hack, his reception by the jazz vanguard was not a warm one. Dexter Gordon once kicked him out of a session, Miles Davis declared him to be “all screwed up inside,” and Max Roach punched him in the mouth during one of his performances at the Five Spot in New York.

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Written by Carman

April 7, 2008 at 2:38 pm