Editor’s note: Jazz innovator Ornette Coleman passed away today at age 85. In remembrance, we’ve posted this list of Coleman’s five key albums, which originally ran in the December 13th, 2007 issue of Rolling Stone. He will be missed.
The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959)
Here’s where Coleman scrambles the rules of jazz into vibrant, revolutionary code. Driven by the idea that melodies need not be attached to fixed chords, Coleman creates beautiful, dejected themes (“Lonely Woman”) and daredevil courses (“Congeniality”) that shift shapes and colors constantly. A road map to the future. Still.