Cover

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Title

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Copyright

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Contents

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Introduction

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pp. 1-9

In the summer of 1960, jazz composer and alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman, trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Ed Blackwell recorded This Is Our Music for Atlantic records. The album captured an original musical vision that had polarized performers, critics, and fans since the quartet’s New York City debut the previous year...

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1. The Resurgence of Jazz in the 1950s

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pp. 10-48

‘‘Jazz Makes It Up the River,’’ declared a New York Times Magazine headline of August 24, 1958. ‘‘The long voyage from New Orleans barrelhouse to public respectability ends in a triumph.’’ Gilbert Millstein, author of the accompanying article, was not alone in recognizing a dramatic improvement in the music’s fortunes during the middle and late...

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2. Free Improvisation Challenges the Jazz Canon

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pp. 49-92

The idea that new venues could help elevate both jazz music’s status and its profitability suffered a setback at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival. Forcibly barred from the packed concert site at Freebody Park, thousands of drunken youths rioted in downtown Newport on Saturday night, launching beer cans, stones, and bottles at police, overturning cars, and smashing...

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3. Free Jazz and Black Nationalism

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pp. 93-121

Amiri Baraka heard the news at the Eighth Street Bookstore in New York City during a book launch party. An increasingly acclaimed and notorious writer, Baraka—known then as LeRoi Jones—had made his name as a poet and playwright in the interracial Greenwich Village bohemian scene of the late 1950s and early 1960s. By 1965 his close acquaintances...

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4. The Musicians and Their Audience

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pp. 122-152

The Cellar Café, a basement coffee house with a capacity of about 90 on New York’s West 91st Street, seems an unlikely venue for a jazz festival. Yet for four days beginning on the afternoon of October 1, 1964, it hosted more than twenty groups and soloists playing varieties of free improvisation to overflow crowds. Many listeners stayed around for late...

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5. Jazz Outside the Marketplace

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pp. 153-181

On January 18, 1969, Howard Klein, Assistant Director of Arts Programs at the Rockefeller Foundation, arrived in the small college town of Yellow Springs, Ohio, for a jazz ensemble performance. He must have wondered how an unorthodox bandleader who barely made a living in New York City, America’s cultural capital, would be received in the heartland. He had met pianist Cecil Taylor at the Foundation’s New York offices a...

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Epilogue

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pp. 182-190

A cursory examination of reader letters published in Down Beat during the mid-1960s reveals the disruption and division caused by free improvisation among fans, musicians, businessmen, educators, and critics. While one writer praised the ‘‘originality and creativity’’ of John Coltrane’s ‘‘abstract’’ style, another described a recent ‘‘outside’’ performance...

Notes

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pp. 191-226

Bibliography

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pp. 227-238

Index

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pp. 239-252

Acknowledgments

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pp. 253-254