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Thread: free jazz

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    Senior Member science's Avatar
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    Default free jazz

    It turns out that we need a thread for free jazz!

    Just FYI: Wikipedia has (of course) a nice page on this topic.

    My favorite albums of free jazz are Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959 -- in fact, the first track, "Lonely Woman," is one of my absolute favorite jazz compositions), John Coltrane's Ascension (1965), and Anthony Braxton's For Alto (1969). There are many more that I like, but to be honest I haven't explored this genre as much as I'd like to.

    Maybe we'll get some good discussion and some good recommendations here.
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    I will post on this thread later when I get to my database. The Free Jazz peak period (IMO late fifties to early seventies) is a particular specialty for me. I too look forward to what others have to offer. Off the top of my head I will mention Archie Shepp, Albert Ayler, John Tchicai, Roswell Rudd and of course Ornette and Coltrane to start.
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    I have quite a few records that fall into this genre. All of Archie Shepp's Impulse albums which I really enjoy. And many others:

    Grachan Moncur: Some Other Stuff
    Tony Williams: Lifetime (acoustic album on Blue Note)
    Eric Dolphy: Out To Lunch
    Sam Rivers: Contrasts
    Sun Ra: Cosmic Tones For Mental Therapy
    Keith Jarrett: Fort Yawuh, Backhand
    Steve Lacy: Blinks, Live In Zurich 1983, both of the Soul Note boxes
    Henry Threadgill: Live at the Montreal Intl Jazz Festival
    Ornette Coleman: This Is Our Music, Complete Science Fiction Sessions
    Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman: Song X 20th Anniversary Edition
    Art Ensemble Of Chicago: Full Force, Nice Guys, People In Sorrow

    And many others I won't all list.
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

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    An important read is Val Wilmer’s book - As Serious as Your Life
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

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    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    An important read is Val Wilmer’s book - As Serious as Your Life
    Yes...

    A few others:

    Free Jazz - E. Jost
    Free Jazz/Black Power - Carles & Comolli (finally translated from the French)
    Performing "Out There" - David Such
    This Is Our Music - Iain Anderson

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    Senior Member SONNET CLV's Avatar
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    A friend of mine once told me that music like this (referring to "free jazz") made him "nervous." I think music that makes me nervous is good music. It proves stimulating.

    But I'm not saying "free jazz" makes me nervous. I just like to hear improvised, experimental jazz music played by guys (and gals) who can "blow" anything but choose, for the moment, to do this sort of thing. Whether its Ornette Coleman, or Anthony Braxton, or Miles Davis, or Roscoe Mitchell … it is interesting music worth hearing. And I remain a fan.

    I've managed to add quite a few "free jazz" and avant-garde, experimental jazz records and CDs to my collection, but I'm especially pleased to have the entire collection (so far) of "The Complete Remastered Recordings On Black Saint & Soul Note". This set of some forty-plus multi-disc box sets (ranging in boxes from 4 CDs to 11) feature artists such as Muhal Richard Abrams, Ran Blake, Lester Bowie, Bill Dixon, Charlie Haden, Julius Hemphill, Steve Lacy, Oliver Lake, Roscoe Mitchell, David Murray, Don Pullen, Max Roach, George Russell, Cecil Taylor, Henry Threadgill, Mal Waldron, Kenny Wheeler, and many more ….

    You can view some of the discs in the collection here:

    https://www.discogs.com/search/?q=Th...+Note&type=all

    Must hear music for free jazz fanatics.

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    at the moment I am only aware of Coltrane's later era which is probably the core of FJ.
    Interstellar Space has finally revealed its beauty to me.

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    I am looking forward to this thread as the examples of free jazz that I have heard leave me unimpressed so I do not seek out more to listen to but I am open to conversion.
    From what I understand free jazz does not have set structure, key, tempo etc so if it is improvised as jazz should be how do the musicians in for example a septet know what is coming next ?
    It would be good to have links to examples that followers consider good free jazz.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    The Black Saint/Soul Note box set series is one of the great things to happen in the world of modern jazz recordings. I stopped at 14 sets because it was getting to be too much. And there are still more titles that haven't been re-issued including albums by Joe Lovano, Craig Harris, and others.
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

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    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    There are different "schools" of so-called "free jazz"....

    New York's emotive, maximal "energy" style:



    Chicago's often static, inert, cerebral approach:

    Last edited by Jay; Jun-28-2020 at 18:09.

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    Member mrdoc's Avatar
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    Jeepers its worse that I remember guess its not for me...

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    I'm not a big fan of the cacophonous blowing style. There is an awful lot of free music that sounds more organized and compositional in approach which I find more satisfying as a listener. Music that is in between the to two examples above.
    Last edited by starthrower; Jun-30-2020 at 16:07.
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

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    My Jazz tastes were determined to a surprising extent by a collection I bought in the 70's call The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz. There was an Ornette Coleman track that didn't resonate the time and I never really reconsidered. Maybe time to go back and check it out.

    Last edited by Baron Scarpia; Jun-30-2020 at 16:29.
    There are two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington.

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    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrdoc View Post
    ...I am open to conversion.
    First, you'll have to repent:


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    Good to see Charles Gayle get a nod... saw him play at a Friday Happy hour in San Jose while we shot pool .. the place was nearly empty...

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