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Critics' Choice
ORNETTE RETURNS ON VINYL
2/22/18

The Shape Of Jazz To Come is one of the ballsiest—and accurate—album title of all time. Released the same year as the game changers Miles DavisKind of Blue, Charles MingusMingus Ah Um and Cecil Taylor’s Looking Ahead!, Coleman’s album as well as his arrival was a shock. He lacked the apprenticeships other leaders had under their belts or documented evidence that he had a command of the canon at the time, two attributes the jazz world demanded of its bandleaders.

Atlantic took a chance on Coleman and let him run free, recording six albums of challenging piano-less music with a band that included trumpeter Don Cherry, either Charlie Haden or Scott LaFaro on bass, and either Billy Higgins or Ed Blackwell on drums.

Rhino, which packaged Coleman’s Atlantic recordings in the CD box Beauty is a Rare Thing in 1993, is releasing Coleman’s complete Atlantic output plus two hours of outtakes in a 10-LP boxed set on 5/11.

The set, Ornette Coleman: The Atlantic Years, features newly remastered audio by John Webber at AIR Studios. The LPs are presented in replica European-style 1960s jackets in a side-loading slipcase along with a 12 x 12 booklet with new liner notes written by Ben Ratliff, plus photos from Lee Friedlander. The albums are: The Shape Of Jazz To Come (1959), Change Of The Century (1959), This Is Our Music (1960), Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation (1960), Ornette! (1961), and Ornette On Tenor (1961) plus the compilations of outtakes The Art Of Improvisers (1970), Twins (1971) and To Whom Who Keeps A Record (1975), and The Ornette Coleman Legacy (1993.)