At the end of fifties, however, Ornette Coleman's star rose higher than John Coltrane's. This young saxophone player from the West Coast had already rejected the harmonic aspect of Charlie Parker's legacy: he wanted to retain only its essence. 'Let's play the music and not its background,' he declared. To him technique was secondary; in his eyes only the feeling and authenticity of expressions counted.
The lyricism of his melodic playing was startling and, paradoxically, elusive.
The forms he borrowed made frequent reference to blues or structures inherited from musical comedy, but his 'Blues Connotation' in eleven and half bars is more evocative of uncertainties of the early blues players than of the academic twelve bar.
|The Shape Of Jazz To Come - Record by Ornette Coleman|
Many bop musicians took offense at these ideas, which put their entire mode of thinking into question. However, the support Ornette Coleman received from John Lewis and some West Coast musicians allowed him to record his first discs. They looked like a manifesto: Something Else!, Tomorrow is the Question and The Shape of Jazz to Come. On 21 December 1960 he made a recording with a double quartet.
The new formula marked the beginning of an epoch: the new album was called Free Jazz, relating to the intention of drawing form and musicality from the apparent chaos he presented. To most musicians - and the public - Coleman's music did sound like chaos.