7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Released in 1961, this album retains three-quarters of the quartet that recorded the earlier, ground-breaking 'The Shape of Jazz To Come' and 'Change of the Century', drummer Billy Higgins giving way to the equally talented Ed Blackwell. Otherwise, it's a continuation of that music, concentrating on Coleman tunes and adding a single standard.
The pianoless quartet format and the spare texture of the music exposes all the musicians to scrutiny, and only Cherry really fall short of expectations. Haden's agile bass is excellent - and audible, as is often not the case on jazz recordings of this vintage - Blackwell's drumming is distinctive, and Coleman's sound and compositional sense are as original and compelling as ever. 'Blues Connotation' and 'Beauty Is a Rare Thing' in particular are as good as anything Coleman recorded during this period, but the whole album is very listenable, largely thanks to Coleman's bluesy lyricism. I find myself comparing the group sound not to the bop style - with which it was supposed to represent such a dramatic break at the time - but with recordings made by Steve Lacy around the same time, which also feature a sax soloist with a very distinctive voice, an unusual choice of repertoire and little interest in running the changes at breakneck speed.
Fifty years have elapsed since Coleman and crew recorded this, and with the controversy dead and buried we can now hear it more clearly for what it was and is - just good, fresh jazz.
I first heard this music way back in 1960 (the CD doesn't bear a recording date- annoying oversight) when I was far too young to appreciate it. I was still listening to Chris Barber! At that time the music of the Ornette Coleman quartet(s) was splitting jazz fans, the majority wondering what this cacophony was! Over the intervening fifty years I have learnt to listen to modern jazz and now (almost) find this work pedestrian! However the dramatic effect that it had on jazz is now universally acknowledged. This album, along with contempory albums by the quartet, are historical documents, but they are far more; they are works of art. O.k. They are not easy listening, but then no advanced art form is easy going. Artists challenge the viewer (listener) and Ornette does this. At its essence this is undiluted emotion, a truly marvellous interpretation of human emotion.
Every one with an interest in the evolution of jazz, or just the listener who is prepared to be challenged should listen to this music executed by four of the greatest creative forces within twentieth century music.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
this lp is recommended by all the jazz afficianados over the years as one of Ornette's fine early lps from 1959, on the atlantic label and they do not lie . i'm no expert on colemans entire output but "this is our music" is above all else as great an introduction to any music lover of Ornette's wonderful plaintive sax playing with his group of the time, alongside Don Cherry's cornet playing acting as an excellent foil also.
for me its his sax SOUND and phrasing that says Freedom in life and free expression - utterly wonderful and nothing on this lp that would prove too scary to non-jazz fans either. this cd is basically loose limbed jazz bop with Coleman + Cherry's tangy/ascerbic solos played alongside Haden + Blackwell's loose + free-ish rhythms. AND as an aside - in 2007 he was STILL playing out of his skin when i had the privilege to see him and his band play in Ldn: an incredible man!
and now to re-listen to Ornette's 80's Lp "Song X" with Metheny, Haden et al - another humdinger.
4 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2005
This is a strange album and merely sounds eccentric these days, the shock value of 45 years passing being lost with age. Indeed, this comes across like a Charlie Parker record that someone has left in the sun so that the improvised lines become stretched into something wholly different.
Today Ornette has almost become part of the mainstream and it is easier in 2005 to appreciate just how original he was back then. The rhythmn team of Haden and Blackwell hold the band's bopping jollity together and although Coleman's solos are the most interesting thing about the record, Don Cherry's trumpet is a let down for this reviwer as he manages to coax so truly horrible sounds from the pocket trumpet. (None of the impish humour of his later work that made him such a great live act.) The ballads "Beauty is a rare thing" and the deconstructed "Embraceable you" with it's tag intro that reminds me of Bird and Dizzy are the best things, other than the good-natured bouncy rendition of Ornette's famous "Humpty Dumpty." (My favourite track.)
This was still early days for Coleman and there is still something naive with the music that makes it so appealing. However, I don't recommend driving a car with this music on!!