Something Else!!!!

Artist: Ornette Coleman

Year: 1958

Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz

Grade: A-

Ornette Coleman’s debut LP Something Else!!!! was received indifferently upon release. It’s no surprise that his free-flowing dissonance would be misunderstood. This is quite unlike any jazz ever heard. Even today, the record sounds ahead of its time.

Coleman’s soloing consists of rapid outbursts of atonal anti-melody, and even though it leads to some occasional rough edges, the pure energy he brings to the performance is astounding. Unfortunately, the one fatal flaw is the inability of Coleman’s bandmates to match their leader’s intensity. This is most evident with pianist Walter Norris; whose solos are slightly unimaginative compared to the work of Coleman and trumpeter Don Cherry (playing cornet on this recording).

The problem would be remedied on Coleman’s second album by completely eliminating the piano altogether. Something Else!!!! feels somewhat hampered down and held back. It’s a good album, but just a warmup — probably doesn’t deserve all four of those exclamation points.

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