Best track on Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come

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There's been a poll for favourite early Coleman album, but no poll for favourite track on this, one of the most acclaimed/beloved records of all time.

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Lonely Woman 21
Peace 3
Congeniality 3
Eventually 1
Chronology 1
Focus On Sanity 0


Halfway there but for you, Friday, 16 April 2021 19:18 (three weeks ago) link

Chronology, it's a hint you should soon flip the record and play it again.

braised cod, Friday, 16 April 2021 19:27 (three weeks ago) link

It's interesting that "Lonely Woman" became the standard on this album and in his career, because I'd say it's typical of neither. Half of the heads on this record are cheerful melodies that remind me of bebop, and that mood persists in his work more than the plaintiveness of that song.

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 17 April 2021 03:32 (two weeks ago) link

'Lonely Woman' might be my favourite jazz tune of all time so there's no doubt

Party With A Jagger Ban (dog latin), Saturday, 17 April 2021 08:04 (two weeks ago) link

all great but this is easier for me than it would be for any of his others from this period

new display name (Left), Saturday, 17 April 2021 10:16 (two weeks ago) link

First thought is Congeniality but it could be any of them.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Saturday, 17 April 2021 10:37 (two weeks ago) link

It's either "Chronology" or "Eventually" for me, and it's probably gonna be the latter. "Chronology" is a little too bebop, and I really like the thing Ornette does on "Eventually" right after the first run through the melody, about 15 seconds in, where he sounds like he's jumping from one foot to the other.

And by the way, this album sounds fucking amazing in mono. I've been listening to the version from the Beauty is a Rare Thing box all these years and the difference is stunning.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skvyO6TUaVE

but also fuck you (unperson), Saturday, 17 April 2021 12:57 (two weeks ago) link

first reactions on hearing this album, or the other early quartet stuff? on a scale of "whoa this is some wild avant garde shit (yay/boo)" to "hey this is just some bluesy melodic jazz (yay/boo)"?

is the first response even possible today, unless you somehow become a huge bop fan before hearing any newer jazz? it probably still is with free jazz, later 60s stuff, the electronic stuff. but this just feels like such approachable and emotionally generous music (disarmingly, if you're expecting him to be "difficult"- that reputation seemed to spread and persist way beyond any context where it might have made sense)

(and now his music from this period is canonised and there's an "oh it was just blues all along" counter-reaction which is also kind of unsatisfying. and the later stuff is still just kind of there, relatively unpacked. I hope these things are changing too)

searching for my black dope yes I am (Left), Saturday, 17 April 2021 17:46 (two weeks ago) link

Yes, a lot of people do still hear this as dissonant, weird, and alienating.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 17 April 2021 17:54 (two weeks ago) link

Or as quite avant-garde and boundary-pushing. I've used "Lonely Woman" as an example in class many times and never got this reaction:

"hey this is just some bluesy melodic jazz (yay/boo)"?

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 17 April 2021 17:59 (two weeks ago) link

I mean, that seems like a pretty disingenuous description of this:
https://www.learnjazzstandards.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Lonely-Woman-Ornette-Coleman_0001-3-907x1024.png

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 17 April 2021 18:04 (two weeks ago) link

(and now his music from this period is canonised


Bill Dixon used to talk about “all those people that laughed at Ornette and then had to learn how to play like him.”

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 17 April 2021 18:07 (two weeks ago) link

If you consider some young people might not listen to any music that isn't run through auto-tune, Ornette could be just as shocking as it was to an older jazz fan "back in the day".

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 17 April 2021 18:14 (two weeks ago) link

'Eventually.'

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 17 April 2021 18:51 (two weeks ago) link

xps just talking from my experience where charlie parker was way harder to follow than lonely woman or any of these. but I assume those kids would find "ko-ko" as shocking as ornette, or as shocking as I did

the bluesy melodic jazz thing is just how it sounded to someone unfamiliar with jazz and the conventions about chord changes etc. obviously that understates how radical it was, because I didn't hear it

searching for my black dope yes I am (Left), Saturday, 17 April 2021 18:59 (two weeks ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 22 April 2021 00:01 (two weeks ago) link

I voted "Peace" for the call-and-response in the head where the horns play in unison, then harmonize with the bass. It's simultaneously very tender and sad.

Halfway there but for you, Thursday, 22 April 2021 01:41 (two weeks ago) link

had to go with Lonely Woman — always stops me in my tracks.

tylerw, Thursday, 22 April 2021 01:43 (two weeks ago) link

Same.

pomenitul, Thursday, 22 April 2021 01:48 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah there was never any question for me.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Thursday, 22 April 2021 02:01 (two weeks ago) link

might fuck around and vote for "peace" or "focus on sanity"

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Thursday, 22 April 2021 13:59 (two weeks ago) link

voted for "Focus on Sanity."

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 22 April 2021 14:04 (two weeks ago) link

whenever the rhythm section lays out on "peace"... it's always so right

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Thursday, 22 April 2021 14:25 (two weeks ago) link

This was maybe my third or fourth jazz album and to be honest I did find it pretty challenging. Whacked it on today and was blown away at how many hooks seem to have made themselves felt since I last spun it.

Urbandn hope all ye who enter here (dog latin), Thursday, 22 April 2021 14:34 (two weeks ago) link

Lonely Woman even though it's the obvious choice

Pfunkboy AKA (Oor Neechy), Thursday, 22 April 2021 14:39 (two weeks ago) link

Either this or Free Jazz was my first jazz record, at the age of about 14, after reading a Steely Dan interview where the interviewer called the latter "conventional" by modern (1980s) standards. This introduction probably distorted my view (not necessarily in a bad way) about what was normal in the genre.
I must admit that for a long time, I felt Cherry's soloing was a let-down on this record. It wasn't until I heard his playing on the two earlier Ornette records that I realized he was a very adept be-bop player. His tone is more humourous, he's sort of the Flavor Flav of the group.

Halfway there but for you, Thursday, 22 April 2021 15:54 (two weeks ago) link

this is a really tough one for me. The only track I'm even vaguely lukewarm on is "Eventually". "Lonely Woman" is the obvious choice because it is so distinctive, not just on this album, but in his whole catalog, but it isn't necessarily one of the ones that gets stuck in my head too often. I think today I'm leaning toward "Congeniality". I like how the melody jumps through a bunch of different moods and tempos.

Mr. Cacciatore (Moodles), Thursday, 22 April 2021 16:42 (two weeks ago) link

first reactions on hearing this album, or the other early quartet stuff? on a scale of "whoa this is some wild avant garde shit (yay/boo)" to "hey this is just some bluesy melodic jazz (yay/boo)"?

is the first response even possible today, unless you somehow become a huge bop fan before hearing any newer jazz? it probably still is with free jazz, later 60s stuff, the electronic stuff. but this just feels like such approachable and emotionally generous music (disarmingly, if you're expecting him to be "difficult"- that reputation seemed to spread and persist way beyond any context where it might have made sense)

(and now his music from this period is canonised and there's an "oh it was just blues all along" counter-reaction which is also kind of unsatisfying. and the later stuff is still just kind of there, relatively unpacked. I hope these things are changing too)

― searching for my black dope yes I am (Left), Saturday, April 17, 2021 12:46 PM (five days ago) bookmarkflaglink

There is definitely something about his music that can sound *almost* straight ahead at times, esp if you don't come to it with a prior understanding of jazz -- something like this happened to me bc I was gifted the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz as a kid -- early parts of it are just King Oliver and Armstrong and Big Band and as you get closer to the present it gets kind of compressed so that there's really only one volume (as I remember it) covering everything from Coltrane and Monk to Ornette and Cecil Taylor. And I do distinctly remember not really being sure if anything "avant garde" was going on in Congeniality, whereas something very out there was obviously going on in Enter Evening.

I don't think you could say the same about all his music from the era - certainly not Free Jazz or even some of the tunes on Shape of Jazz to Come, but he had a knack for writing catchy blues melodies. I think it would be a mistake to understand this as a function of being "early avant garde" in a progressive sense though (like "oh this sounded out back then but it doesn't now because things have progressed further). It's more just something unique to his music.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 22 April 2021 18:09 (two weeks ago) link

I always think of these Ornette albums, and a lot of Thelonious Monk's work, as really good "gateway jazz" in the sense that you could play them for a little kid and the kid would probably really like them because they sound fun and they have a lot of almost cartoony energy. I mean, close your eyes and listen to Thelonious Monk's Columbia quartet albums and picture Rowlf the Dog playing the music.

but also fuck you (unperson), Thursday, 22 April 2021 18:21 (two weeks ago) link

Programmed this in the proper order from the Beauty Is a Rare Thing box. (The mania for complete recordings boxes in the '90s produced some lovely packages, this one included, but I tend to wish I just had the albums these days). "Eventually" is a gas, and I voted for it.

unperson OTM.

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Thursday, 22 April 2021 18:26 (two weeks ago) link

(The mania for complete recordings boxes in the '90s produced some lovely packages, this one included, but I tend to wish I just had the albums these days).

Agree 100%. I have this box and the John Coltrane Atlantic box, The Heavyweight Champion, and I just wind up listening to my digital re-assemblages of the actual albums 99% of the time.

but also fuck you (unperson), Thursday, 22 April 2021 18:37 (two weeks ago) link

I also went in on the Beauty Is A Rare Thing box back then, easily one of the very best of these collections

Mr. Cacciatore (Moodles), Thursday, 22 April 2021 18:39 (two weeks ago) link

I haven't listened to this in so long. I'd forgotten how much it swings. I've been watching Mad Men and the music they use makes it seem like the show is from the 30s or something. Meanwhile, this quartet are ripping it up in Texas and it feels like the next century.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Thursday, 22 April 2021 19:40 (two weeks ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Friday, 23 April 2021 00:01 (two weeks ago) link

Heh.

pomenitul, Friday, 23 April 2021 00:04 (two weeks ago) link

honestly a little bummed about no votes for "Focus on Sanity"

Mr. Cacciatore (Moodles), Friday, 23 April 2021 00:21 (two weeks ago) link


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