Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Brave Innovative Jazz, 1 Jun 2008
This review is from: Change of the Century (Audio CD)
I must admit I'm not very much experienced with free jazz, although I attended (and enjoyed) a recent Coleman concert in the town where I live. Previouslly, I have listened to some Pharoah Sanders and to some of Miles Davis' experiments with this style ("Cookin' at plugged nickel" or something like that...)...

Well, I was moderatly impressed and moderately confused. I have also listened to some of the more recent jazz explorations by Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins, as well as some recordings by Art Ensemble of Chicago and Wayne Shorter's latest explorations that go beyond most traditional achievements,,,

But, here we have the magnificent source of all that jazz commotion.
First of all, I am impressed by the level of expressiveness of this music; it is no accident that Coleman's liner notes mention New Orleans jazz - some of his (but also Cherry's) solos have brought back some of the tonal features that started to disappear as early as the swing era...
I'm not an expert but I'm almost certain I heard Ornette produce some blue notes on his plastic instrument!

Naturally, New Orleans style is one of the styles in jazz in which collective improvisation was not so uncommon, so it is no wonder that, in the attempt to free jazz from Charlie Parker's magnificent shadow, Ornette at times went to the sources of jazz. In addition to that, the occasional "ethno" influences on this album (not only in the last song)are a continuation of the usual manners in which jazz musicians tried to infuse new ideas into their music; Ellington, Gillespie and others were particularly impressed by Latin America(s), there were even some Middle East-based experiments, but it was about time in the late 50's someone shows the influences of South Asia and other sources...

However, I must admit I still dig Ornette's explanations much more than I dig the music... This is fine jazz, with strong sense of swing and, at least occasionally, with fine drive, but all in all, I'm not hypocritical enough to hide my opinion that the band at times rambles a bit too much...

Also, keeping the format of initial and concluding statement of...well...anti-melody at some songs also doesn't seem such a good idea . I think that much better, or at least "freer", is the approach on "Change of the Century"...

Perhaps if I devote more time to this style I would get used to it or discover more beauty, but as for now, 5 stars is the reward for the courage and determination to follow original path (regardless of the number of followers)... This is a slightly altered copy of the original review on American amazon, where I gave the album only 4 stars (but I listened to Coleman some more in-between)...
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