Ornette Coleman recorded one of the greatest bodies of work
in jazz during a 22-month-long burst of creativity. Between 1959 and
1961, the saxophonist and composer released six studio albums on
Atlantic Records that helped usher in the avant-garde, free jazz
Those albums, along more than two hours of session outtakes, are
featured together in the 10-LP boxed set ORNETTE COLEMAN: THE ATLANTIC
YEARS, featuring newly remastered audio by John Webber at AIR Studios.
Several of these titles are long out-of-print on vinyl. The Ornette
Coleman Legacy, featuring six songs originally released for the first
time in 1993 as part of Rhino's CD boxed set Beauty Is A Rare Thing,
making its vinyl debut.
The LPs are presented in replica European-style 1960s jackets in a
side-loading slipcase along with a 12 x 12 booklet with new liner notes
written by renowned author-music critic Ben Ratliff, plus rare pictures
taken by legendary jazz photographer Lee Friedlander.
The albums featured in the set are: The Shape Of Jazz To Come (1959),
Change Of The Century (1959), This Is Our Music (1960), Free Jazz: A
Collective Improvisation (1960), Ornette! (1961), Ornette On Tenor
(1961), The Art Of Improvisers (1970), Twins (1971), To Whom Who Keeps A
Record (1975), and The Ornette Coleman Legacy (1993.)
On most of his Atlantic albums, Coleman recorded with a quartet that
included trumpeter Don Cherry, plus either Charlie Haden or Scott LaFaro
on bass, and either Billy Higgins or Ed Blackwell on drums. One notable
exception is Free Jazz, a ground-breaking single-track album where
Coleman led a double quartet through a nearly 40-minute collective
improvisation. The stereo mix used for the album separates the quartets
into different channels; one on the right and the other on the left.
Coleman worked extensively with producer Nesuhi Ertegun on the music
featured in this collection. Their partnership began in 1959 with
Coleman's Atlantic debut, The Shape of Jazz To Come, an album the
Library of Congress added to its National Recording Registry in 2012.
Among the albums included in THE ATLANTIC YEARS are three
compilations that Atlantic released in the 1970's: The Art Of
Improvisers (1970), Twins (1971), and To Whom Who Keeps A Record (1975.)
These albums include outtakes from recording sessions for all six of
Coleman's studio albums.