Today In Jazz

Something Else

February 10

Few musicians have cast as long a shadow on jazz as multi-instrumentalist Ornette Coleman, and it was 56 years ago today that he recorded his first album, “Something Else.”

Heralded in subsequent albums as music of the future, or least of the avant-garde, Coleman’s music was based in the blues and improvisatory concepts that were as old as time. By choosing not to deal with the high level of harmonic chromaticism then prevalent in jazz, Coleman took the music back to folk concepts of melodic variation.

But the best way to appreciate and understand Coleman is to listen to him, and the classic sessions whose anniversary we celebrate today are the ones that introduced him to the music world, and they sound as fresh today as they did during the Eisenhower administration.

Here is the very first tune recorded at Coleman’s first session, and it’s a swinging tongue twister: ALPHA