Ornette Coleman: Focus on Sanity


Focus on Sanity


Ornette Coleman (alto sax)


The Shape of Jazz to Come (Atlantic: 1317)

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Ornette Coleman (alto sax), Don Cherry (cornet), Charlie Haden (bass), Billy Higgins (drums).

Composed by Ornette Coleman


Recorded: Radio Recorders, Los Angeles, Ca. May 22, 1959


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Sanity might have seemed the issue for some when this was first unleashed to the world in 1959. Colemanís work was so groundbreaking and divisive that it seemed you had to pick sides, and consequently he was hailed as a genius or condemned as a charlatan. This performance has all the elements of his early work that I love. The alto and cornet state the jagged, short opening theme followed by Haden and Higgins in duet for two minutes. The theme is restated to demarcate the start of Colemanís solo and then again for Cherry and Higgins. None of these themes is quite the same, and yet they surely exhibit a continuity that is a signature of this great artistís canon.

Reviewer: Frank Murphy

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