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Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 7 October 2005
I listened to this record recently for the first time in almost forty years, and I am even more impressed by the tightness and mutual sensitivity of the ensemble on all tracks, than I was all those years ago. The music still sounds as fresh and invigoratingly new as it did to me as a twenty year old in the early 1960s. "Una Muy Bonita" is a masterpiece, the rare compatability and impecable timing of Coleman and Cherry shining through; amazing stuff.
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on 28 July 2007
As any jazz history book will tell you, late 50's Coleman quartet, watershed in jazz history, seminal, groundbreaking, controversy at the Five Spot, raving critics , blah, blah, blah, but this stuff is not history only, this heartfelt and humourous stuff, dont miss out on it, this is a music-for-the-ages.
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on 1 June 2008
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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on 17 April 2012
Perhaps not to everyone's taste but not as discordant as his other work or as later period Coltrane.
The lack of any chordal instrument in the band gives the music a fantastic open quality with more focus on the bass than more conventional quartets. Many of the tracks could pass for standard bebop blues heads (albeit without piano) whereas others almost have a rock feel. Billy higgins on drums is fantastic (as he is on hundreds of blue note albums throughout the sixties) and the solos of coleman and cherry are anarchic, playful and surprisingly melodic.
If you're looking to make your first foray into "free jazz" this could be the place to start.
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on 12 December 2011
This album is irresistible. Having owned only one Coleman album before (Shape of Jazz to Come), I purchased my second without apprehension. I'm pleased to report my confidence in Coleman has been vindicated. Of particular note (aside from the frontman) is Charlie Haden and his terrifically original bass style: the tempo of his solo in Ramblin' might sound less out of place in a folk band, but it really works here too. Coleman's music is so different to what preceded it and yet, unlike much groundbreaking music, it's incredibly easy on the ear. It really is a joy to listen to and there can be no questioning of the technical abilities of all involved.

Coleman's riffs are insanely catchy, as are Haden's bass lines. Exciting stuff.
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on 12 February 2016
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on 23 January 2016
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