Ornette Coleman's Contemporary Albums Something Else!!!! and Tomorrow is the Question! Cut Directly from the Original Analog Tapes to Lacquer by Mastering Engineer Bernie Grundman and Pressed at RTI
180g Vinyl 2LP Box Set includes 32-Page Booklet with Vintage Photos and Extensive New Liner Notes by Grammy Award-Winning Music Historian Ashley Kahn
Continuing Contemporary Records' 70th anniversary celebration, Craft Recordings presents the new Ornette Coleman box set, Genesis of Genius: The Contemporary Albums featuring the two seminal releases, 1958's Something Else!!!! The Music of Ornette Coleman and 1959's Tomorrow Is the Question! The New Music of Ornette Coleman. These albums transformed an unknown jazz visionary from the hinterlands into the talk of the New York scene.
Both albums were originally recorded by legendary engineer Roy DuNann, the man responsible for the famously pristine sound quality of Contemporary albums, and have been newly mastered for this release by Bernie Grundman, who himself got his start at Contemporary, mentored by DuNann. The 180-gram 2LP-set will be pressed at RTI and has been cut from the original analog tapes to lacquer. The deluxe box set also includes a 32-page booklet with archival photos and extensive new liner notes by Grammy Award-winning music historian Ashley Kahn. The LP jacket replicates the original tip-on versions.
Largely avoided by his colleagues on the L.A. jazz scene in the late 1950s, Coleman found an open door at Contemporary Records, where the label's founder Lester Koenig was intrigued by his melodic sensibility and unorthodox approach to phrasing. After his Contemporary albums, Coleman quickly went on to New York City and turned the jazz scene on its head, but it was Koenig who provided the first glimpse of the saxophonist's new approach to rhythm and harmony.
"These two recordings are the accessible gateway to Ornette Coleman's music," says Nick Phillips, the producer of Genesis of Genius. "He's expanding on the bebop vocabulary and at this point he's using traditional forms for most compositions, 12-bar blues and AABA song form, but doing something totally different. With Ornette and Don Cherry's trumpet in the front line, the way they play and phrase and shift rhythms together, it sounds very loose but very tight."
Featuring Coleman's working band with Don Cherry on trumpet, pianist Walter Norris, bassist Don Payne and drummer Billy Higgins, Something Else!!!! sounds less radical today than strikingly individual and steeped in the blues. With nine Coleman originals, the session introduced several tunes that became standards, including "The Blessing" and "When Will the Blues Leave?" Featuring Cherry, Shelly Manne, and either Percy Heath or Red Mitchell on bass, the emphatic, piano-less follow up Tomorrow Is the Question! made it clear that Coleman's concepts were both insistently innovative and tethered to bedrock African American idioms. Consisting entirely of Coleman originals, the album introduced several more tunes that became an essential part of the jazz canon, including "Tears Inside," "Rejoicing" and "Turnaround."
More than a seminal improviser and composer who exponentially expanded jazz's rhythmic and harmonic frontiers, Coleman embodied the playfully heroic duality-erasing ideal at the center of African American musical innovation. Radical and rootsy, avant-garde and populist, philosophical and visceral, genius and trickster, Coleman was born and raised in Ft. Worth, and the wailing Texas blues was woven into his sound. By the time he settled in Los Angeles in the mid-1950s he'd spent years on the road playing blues and R&B, imbuing a gutbucket sensibility that he carried with into every musical setting.
L.A. beboppers often treated him with disdain, perceiving his unorthodox note choice as lack of chops, but he slowly found a brilliant cadre of musicians who embraced his musical vision, including pianist Paul Bley, drummers Billy Higgins and Eddie Blackwell, bassist Charlie Haden and Don Cherry. The Contemporary albums paved the way for Coleman's fall 1959 triumph in New York City, with Tomorrow Is the Question! hitting stores the same month that his quartet started an extended run at the Five Spot, arguably the most consequential and controversial gig in jazz history.
Alternately championed and denounced by his musical peers and critics, Coleman found a new home at Atlantic Records, where he continued expanding his gorgeous, searing, utterly human approach to music. But it was Lester Koenig who first recognized Coleman's genius when he walked into his Melrose office at a time when the saxophonist wasn't even welcome on most bandstands.
• Box set produced by Nick Phillips
• Featuring the Contemporary Records albums Something Else!!!!: The Music of Ornette Coleman and Tomorrow is the Question!: The New Music of Ornette Coleman
• Recorded by Contemporary Records' engineer Roy DuNann
• Lacquers cut directly from original analog tapes to lacquer by mastering engineer Bernie Grundman
• Pressed at RTI
• 32-page booklet features vintage photos and extensive new liner notes by Grammy Award-winning music historian Ashley Kahn Read More
2. The Blessing
5. The Disguise
6. Angel Voice
8. When Will The Blues Leave?
9. The Sphinx
Ornette Coleman - alto saxophone
Don Cherry - trumpet
Walter Norris - piano
Don Payne - bass
Billy Higgins – drums
LP2 - Tomorrow is the Question!: The New Music of Ornette Coleman
1. Tomorrow Is The Question!
2. Tears Inside
3. Mind And Time
Ornette Coleman - alto saxophone
Don Cherry - trumpet
Percy Heath / Red Mitchell - bass
Shelly Manne - drums