on 28 October 2012
this 4 cd recent release of Ornette Coleman's 1958 -1960 era of acknowledged masterpieces is for a big Ornette fan a total treat. i mean think about it - 6 lps from his incredibly fertile seminal years on 4 cds for less than £10/$15 is a total no brainer for any jazz or serious music fan..
first lp s "something else" + "tomorrow is the question" are pre-cherry,haden,classic line up with sidemen that didnt quite understand the new thing that was emerging. these lps essentially show Ornette's alto sax playing + muscial ideas starting to emerge post-bop into looser ,free-er structures,but nothing on these 2 lp s are particularly remarkable, for their time, except for Ornette's wonderful plaintive tone + slightly "out" yet still melodic playing. great fairly typical late bop jazz.
the next three lps : "this is our music","the shape of jazz to come" + "change of the century" all recorded within 12 months of each other bring together the classic don cherry, charlie haden ,ed blackwell / billy higgins group that was to serve Ornette's universe sporadically for many years to come (part re-uniting gloriously in 1983 with "song x"). these lps in essence contain wonderful music for open minded people who like the playful loose limbed tunes, sparse ballads,interplay + overall feeling of freedom being created almost on the spot,without the honking or dense structures that symbolise later key lps such as Coltrane's pivotal free jazz lp the far more demanding "ascension".
the later lp "free jazz" crucially is also included in this fine collection + although fairly "busy" with its larger ensemble + denser textures is still pretty straightforward post bop free-ish jazz - just for larger group, a million miles away from the aforementioned "acension" or later Brotzmann free jazz blast era.
no booklet notes, only basic personnel,track listings might have cost this release + arguably the 1959 lps : "something else" + "tomorrow is the question" are only fairly average bop lps, oh and the music could have easily fitted onto 3 cds but hey.. so : 2 stars for the packaging + non-existent booklet notes.4 stars for the overall selection, but five stars for the value.
This is an absolute steal at this price. 6 incredible, iconic even, albums presented using superb clear remastered sources. The sound quality of these cds is as good as the most recent remastered stand alone versions, although the bonus tracks that appear on some of them are missing here.
The only downside is the lack of any information, but at this price that is splitting hairs.
If you like, Jazz, are missing one or two of these albums, enjoy hearing musicians pushing the boundaries buy this.