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Change of the Century

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 25, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Reissue of his 1959 album. Featuring the extraordinary talents of Don Cherry, Charlie Haden & Billy Higgins. Warner Jazz.

Amazon.com

Ornette Coleman suggests in his liner notes for this 1960 release that "there is no single right way to play jazz." He and this, his great quartet (with Don Cherry, pocket trumpet; Charlie Haden, bass; and Billy Higgins, drums), fully confirm that statement and dismiss the railings of Coleman's detractors. This classic's assurance and achievement fully justify its cocky title. In its free group improvising, as Coleman puts it, "each member goes his own way and still adds tellingly to the group endeavor." The later formalization of that approach, as "harmolodics," was from this point inevitable. The selections include tunes like "Ramblin'" and "Una Muy Bonita" that would be standards today if more musicians had deigned to venture down the paths that Coleman blazed. --Peter Monaghan
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 25, 1992)
  • Original Release Date: 1960
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B000002IIL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,587 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I thought that this album was great. I admire how Ornette Coleman and his fellow musicians could create Jazz right on the spot like that. I may be only 11 years old, but I know what kind of music I like and I like this.
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Format: Audio CD
Change of the Century, Ornette's 4th album is a work of stunning brilliance. Any doubts that because it is sandwiched between the definitive classic The Shape Of Jazz To Come & the revolutionary Free Jazz that it would be somewhat lesser can be thrown right out. This is a great a jazz album as any ever made & amongst the greatest of any music, seriously all the labels, genre-specificness & niche marketing should be thrown right out, like OC fan Captain Beefheart meant when he said "Lick my decals off, baby!", I'm sure Ornette would agree. 1st of all there is the striking stark portrait of the man himself by Lee Friedlander to get yr attention, I've seen a book full of her photography & it's good stuff [note the similar style on Miles Davis' Greatest Hits lp cover of the late 60s]. Then there are the liner notes explaining the philosophy driving the music, Ornette believes deeply in what his group were doing [I should now mention that drummer Billy Higgins recently died & a sad shame it is, also the great Don Cherry has been gone since 1995], the bold titles of the albums were not an exercise to build an ego but just great confidence in the power of the music. Now, Ramblin' which opens the album is something that should be listened to every day to wake you up & get you in the mood for lifeliving, very catchy & great playing from all members, pure genius. Free is the name of the next track & it's worth noting this is preceding the term 'free jazz' slightly, the intro of it really superb, a streaming sea of sound & then of course there is a lot of free group improvisation. The Face Of The Bass highlights the talents of Charlie Haden [& rightly so!], daring to give him an extended solo before the whole band jumps in again.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
First time I heard Ornette Coleman, I was in the downtown Miami record store called Capitol Records (not affiliated with the label) in 1970. I was looking around at the rock albums, looking to perhaps purchase Led Zeppelin III when someone put Change of the Century on the store's stereo system. At that moment, my life changed. You see, I had a few jazz albums in my collection at this time (Wes Montgomery's A Day in the Life and Road Song, Kenny Burrell's Blues the Common Ground, orchestrated A&M and Verve stuff like that) but never in my life had I heard walking bass like THIS! I mean, the BASS PLAYING hit me like a ton of bricks, virually levitating me to the ceiling of this store! They were playing "Ramblin'" and I didn't hear, or I should say, didn't pay attention to any saxophone or trumpet, all I could hear was this sublime, moving, leather-lunged, rich and soulful catgut-strung walking bass and, also, the amazing drummer, who didn't play drums like anyone I had heard before this revelation. I was floating, levitating, transported to another world. There was dancing in my head, if you will. I mean, this bassist and drummer absolutely SHATTERED my 16-year-old soul into a million pieces. I ran up to the clerk and told him I wanted to purchase whatever album he was spinning on the turntable. I had never heard of Ornette--I was just getting into jazz--but, forget Led Zep, this was the album I wanted.

When I found out the price was like, a dollar above list, however ($5.98, a lot for an album in 1970), I left the store dejected. I just didn't have that much money to spend on an album. I repaired to the 5-story Walgreens on Flagler Street.
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Format: Audio CD
Says Ornette in the liner notes: "I say, there is no single way to play jazz. Some of the comments made about my music make me realize though that modern jazz, once so daring and revolutionary, has become, in many respects, a rather settled and conventional thing." Just as bop had befuddled and angered critics to ask such narrow minded questions as, "where is the melody?", the music of Ornette Coleman confused and angered the majority of critics. But the muscicians were listening. Even Coleman's seminal "Free Jazz" sounds relatively tame when compared to the avante garde of the middle to late 60's, but it can be argued much of that music, good and bad, could never have come about without the adavnces of Ornette Coleman. A genius on par with names like: Ellington, Coltrane, Parker, jazz is still wrestling with his revolution. His lack of traditional structures, total absence of chorded instruments (i.e. piano, guitar), and even playing his plastic alto were all part of his revolution. But lets focus on what matters, this album is a delight from beginning to end. Ornette is in top form thoughout, check out his furious solo on "Forerunner". Bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins move with fluidity and cohesiveness through out. Donald Cherry on the pocket trumpet, while not impressive to me, is essential to the group for his willingness to take chances. To these ears this music swings as hard as any, and needs to be in any serious collection of jazz recordings, not because it is revoloutionary, but because it is good!
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