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Old 12-27-2010, 03:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Shake Your Jazz Hands, It's Free Jazz Week!

Yup, it's free jazz week. As far as I can tell, free jazz has no strict definition as the term usually describes something the music is not or does not do, such as follow typical jazz conventions.

Wikipedia says :

Quote:
Free jazz is an approach to jazz music that was first developed in the 1950s and 1960s. Though the music produced by free jazz pioneers varied widely, the common feature was a dissatisfaction with the limitations of bebop, hard bop, and modal jazz, which had developed in the 1940s and 1950s. Each in their own way, free jazz musicians attempted to alter, extend, or break down the conventions of jazz, often by discarding hitherto invariable features of jazz, such as fixed chord changes or tempos. While usually considered experimental and avant-garde, free jazz has also oppositely been conceived as an attempt to return jazz to its "primitive", often religious roots, and emphasis on collective improvisation.

Free jazz is most strongly associated with the 1950s innovations of Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor and the later works of saxophonist John Coltrane. Other important pioneers included Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Joe Maneri and Sun Ra. Although today "free jazz" is the generally-used term, many other terms were used to describe the loosely-defined movement, including "avant-garde", "energy music" and "The New Thing". During its early- and mid-60s heyday, much free jazz was released by the independent ESP Disk label.
One album which is generally regarded as important to that whole free jazz thang is Coltrane's album Ascension which was released in 1966. Here's a taste!

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Old 12-27-2010, 02:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Without doubt my favorite subgenre of jazz.

Obligatory, sure, but Al's playing is always beautiful.

Anarchic.

Favorite jazz album of all-time. Only fair that it gets its place. Its free-ness is debatable, though.



This one needs a lot of time to unfold, but it grows into something wonderful.



Really cool to watch; the sound quality is sort of low, but just seeing how they react to one another is wonderful in itself.

And of course, Ascension is necessary. I second it.
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Old 12-27-2010, 02:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I bought Ornette Coleman's 1959 (finally released in 1961) album the Art of the Improvisers as blind purchase at my local second hand vinyl shop when I was a teenage fanboy of mostly sixties psychedelic bands and early protopunk rockers like the New York Dolls, Patti Smith, and the Ramones. I had no idea of what Ornette sounded like or what free jazz was. Nothing had prepared me for the inspired chaos and sublime fury of Circle With the Hole in the Middle. The urgency of the music hit me with the force of a sledgehammer.

Circle With the Hole in the Middle the first song on the album, opened my eyes to an entire realm of musical possibilities that I was previously unaware of.

Strangely enough, not a single of the millions of YouTube members had posted a copy of this song so I went ahead and posted it myself so you could hear it.

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Last edited by Gavin B.; 12-27-2010 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Free jazz is not my favourite sub-genre (I think it's sort of an acquired taste), but I still listen to it from time to time. I have to be in the mood for it

I also don't know a whole lot about it, and it was sort of skipped over in my Jazz history class. It wasn't even an essay topic! But here are some pieces that were included on the CD's that came with the textbook:

Sun Ra - Distant Stars


Eric Dolphy - Gazzelloni (there's some pretty cool flute in this piece too! )


Albert Ayler - Spirits
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavin B. View Post
I bought Ornette Coleman's 1959 (finally released in 1961) album the Art of the Improvisers as blind purchase at my local second hand vinyl shop when I was a teenage fanboy of mostly sixties psychedelic bands and early protopunk rockers like the New York Dolls, Patti Smith, and the Ramones. I had no idea of what Ornette sounded like or what free jazz was. Nothing had prepared me for the inspired chaos and sublime fury of Circle With the Hole in the Middle. The urgency of the music hit me with the force of a sledgehammer.

Circle With the Hole in the Middle the first song on the album, opened my eyes to an entire realm of musical possibilities that I was previously unaware of.

Strangely enough, not a single of the millions of YouTube members had posted a copy of this song so I went ahead and posted it myself so you could hear it.

Double post, I know - but they've already managed to block it!!!
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sound Grammar is the most recent Ornette Coleman record and it's pretty fantastic. I think it won a Pulitzer, actually.
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm never sure when Jazz is 'free'. It's a thin line between free and 'regular' jazz.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conan View Post
Sound Grammar is the most recent Ornette Coleman record and it's pretty fantastic. I think it won a Pulitzer, actually.
I know that one of his records won a Pulitzer, but I'm not sure if that was the one. Correct me if I'm wrong. I do know that it was the first and only time a Pulitzer was awarded to a musician.

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I'm never sure when Jazz is 'free'. It's a thin line between free and 'regular' jazz.
Jazz in itself doesn't have many strict guidelines either. I think free jazz, for all intents and purposes, was (or is) a sort of a break away from the more established sub-genres of jazz. Like when Coltrane started making more avant-garde records. But you're right, sometimes it is hard to tell them apart. I just think of free jazz as being more modal, in terms of harmonic structure, as opposed to using more traditional scales and chords found in "regular" jazz music.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Nope, Pulitzer Prizes for music have been around since the 1940s I think. Sound Grammar won the 2007 award.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Nope, Pulitzer Prizes for music have been around since the 1940s I think. Sound Grammar won the 2007 award.
You're right. I looked it all up
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