The Atomic Truth Grenade
Song - Artist - Album
The New Life Out There - The Neon Philharmonic - The Moth Confesses
Recorded in May 1959
Ornette Coleman- alto saxophone
Don Cherry- cornet
Charlie Haden- bass
Billy Higgins- drums
The first thing I noticed after a few minutes of listening (which I then checked against the list of personnel) was that there was no piano whatsoever on this entire album. In fact, none of the instruments play any chord structures, which effectively leads to the appropriate term "free jazz" for this album.
This is not just harmonically free jazz, but melodically as well. After establishing a head tune, the soloists go wherever they pleased (seriously, wherever) before returning to the melody of the chart, but the free solos really seemed to be the point of the album, not so much the melodies.
There was also some freedom of color as well. The color of the cornet was unique, as was the bowed bass in some sections. If you are looking for a "free jazz" adventure, The Shape of Jazz to Come is a classic!
Recorded at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (April 1967)
McCoy Tyner- piano
Joe Henderson- tenor saxophone
Ron Carter- bass
Elvin Jones- drums
McCoy Tyner lets loose some of his best original compositions on this album. There was a showcase of different moods, spanning the spectrum of a ballad-feel ("Contemplation") to an uptempo modal dance ("Passion Dance")
Being a small ensemble, this, like the previously discussed Coleman album, had a lot to do with the soloists. Unlike Shape of Jazz to Come, the solos on this album have a definite relation to the outlined melodies, played sometimes with lightning-fast speeds that boggle the cerebellum (and weith such accuracy too!). The solos on this album felt more confident and precise on the whole than the last, though this is likely linked to the more structured form of Tyner's compositions.
The fullness of Tyner's harmonies really fill out the sound despite the small ensemble. If you haven't heard The Real McCoy, go check out what you've been missing!