The Shape of Jazz to Come was one of the first avant-garde jazz albums ever recorded. It was recorded in 1959 by Ornette Coleman‘s piano-less quartet. Considered shocking at the time, The Shape of Jazz to Come had no recognizable chord structure and included simultaneous improvisation by the performers in a much freer style than previously heard in jazz.
Coleman’s major breakthrough was to leave out chord-playing instruments. Each selection contains a brief melody, much like the tune of a typical jazz song, then several minutes of free improvisation, followed by a repetition of the main theme; while this resembles the conventional head-solo-head structure of bebop, it abandons the use of chord structures. Featuring Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, Billy Higgins.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 248 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, one of only seven jazz albums to make that list. In 2012, the Library of Congress added the album to the National Recording Registry.
Original Issue. Original Label. 1959. Atlantic SD 1317. NM*****