“Change of the Century” Album Review

"Change of the Century" by Ornette Coleman

Album: Change of the Century

Artist: Ornette Coleman

Year: 1960

Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz

Grade: A

After the monumental The Shape of Jazz to Come, the jazz world eagerly awaited what direction saxophonist Ornette Coleman would take next. Confident in his new sound, Coleman went even deeper — Change of the Century sets the standard for all avant-garde jazz to follow.

Coleman’s solos were getting more and more adventurous, while his rhythm section of Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins was growing ever intuitive. Along with the presence of Don Cherry on cornet, this combination developed a wholly unique style of “structured experimentation.” With Change of the Century, Coleman and his quartet truly become masters of a style they created.

Songs like “Free” and the title track are awe-inspiring shows of musicianship, and Coleman’s dissonant, fluttering style effortlessly conveys an infinite number of emotions. Although the melodies are less ‘memorable’ when compared to The Shape of Jazz to Come, the overall collection is more exploratory.

Change of the Century stands on the precipice of the point of no return. With free jazz on the horizon, this album remains a perfect example of radical artistry that doesn’t outdo itself and never tries to outsmart its audience.

“Change of the Century” Album Review

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