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Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation | Ornette Coleman Double Quartet | Pre Loved Vinyl

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Free Jazz : A Collective Improvisation is the sixth album by jazz saxophonist and composer Ornette Coleman, released on Atlantic Records in September 1961: the fourth of Coleman's six albums for the label. Its title named the then-nascent free jazz movement. The recording session took place on December 21, 1960, at A&R Studios in New York City. The sole outtake from the album session, "First Take," was later released on the 1971 compilation Twins and subsequent CD reissues of Free Jazz.

Released : September 1961

Recorded: December 21, 1960

 Genre : Free Jazz

 Duration : 37.10

 Label : Atlantic SD 1364

 Producer : Nesuhi Ertegun

All tracks are written by Ornette Coleman 

Side One

  1. Free Jazz  ( Part One)  : 19.55

Side Two 

  1. Free Jazz ( Part Two ) : 16.28


Left channel
Right channel


The music is a continuous free improvisation with only a few brief pre-determined sections, recorded in one take with no overdubbing or editing.The album features what Coleman called a “double quartet,” i.e., two self-contained jazz quartets: each with a reed instrument, trumpet, bass, and drums. The two quartets are heard in separate channels, with Coleman's working quartet at the time (as featured on Ornette!) in the left channel, and the second quartet, including the former Coleman rhythm section of Charlie Haden and Ed Blackwell, on the right.

The two quartets play simultaneously, with the two rhythm sections providing a dense rhythmic foundation over which the wind players either solo or provide freeform commentaries, interspersed with pre-composed passages. The composed thematic material can be considered a series of brief, dissonant fanfares for the horns which serve as interludes between solos. Free Jazz was the first album-length improvisation at thirty-seven minutes, unheard of at the time.

The original LP package incorporated Jackson Pollock's 1954 painting The White Light. The cover was a gatefold with a cutout window in the lower right corner allowing a glimpse of the painting; opening the cover revealed the full artwork, along with liner notes by critic Martin Williams. Coleman was a fan of Pollock's work as well as being a painter himself, and the cover of his 1966 LP The Empty Foxhole would feature his own artwork.

In the January 18, 1962 issue of Down Beat magazine, in a special review titled "Double View of a Double Quartet," Pete Welding awarded the album Five Stars while John A. Tynan rated it No Stars.

AllMusic critic Steve Huey described it in his five-star retrospective review as "a staggering achievement" which "practically defies superlatives in its historical importance." It served as the blueprint for later large-ensemble free jazz recordings such as Ascension by John Coltrane and Machine Gun by Peter Brötzmann.

On March 3, 1998, Free Jazz was reissued on compact disc by Rhino Records as part of its "Atlantic 50" series marking Atlantic Records' fiftieth anniversary. The title track, split into two sections for each side of the LP, appeared here in continuous uninterrupted form, along with the previously issued "First Take".

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