Sound (Roscoe Mitchell album)

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Studio album by Roscoe Mitchell
Released 1966
Recorded August 10–26, 1966
Genre Free Jazz
Length 50:16
Label Delmark
Producer Robert G. Koester
Roscoe Mitchell chronology
Before There Was Sound

Sound is the debut album by free jazz saxophononist Roscoe Mitchell, recorded in 1966 and released on the Delmark label. It features performances by Mitchell, Lester Bowie, Malachi Favors, Maurice McIntyre, Lester Lashley and Alvin Fielder. The CD reissue includes two takes of "Sound", which were edited together to form the original LP version, and an alternative take of "Ornette".


The Penguin Guide to Jazz selected the album as part of its suggested Core Collection.[1]

The Allmusic review by Steve Huey awarded the album 5 stars, stating, "Structurally, Sound heralded a whole new approach to free improvisation; where most previous free jazz prized an unrelenting fever pitch of emotion, Sound was full of wide-open spaces between instruments, an agreeably rambling pace in between the high-energy climaxes, and a more abstract quality to its solos. Steady rhythmic pulses were mostly discarded in favor of collective, spontaneous dialogues and novel textures (especially with the less orthodox instruments, which had tremendous potential for flat-out weird noises). Simply put, it's an exploration of pure sound."[2]

The album was identified by Chris Kelsey in his Allmusic essay "Free Jazz: A Subjective History" as one of the 20 Essential Free Jazz Albums.[3]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Penguin Guide to Jazz 4/4 stars[1]
Allmusic 5/5 stars[2]


The album's influence on other improvisers was considerable: "Sound's concepts of texture, space, and interaction would shortly be expanded upon in classic recordings by Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and others; the repercussions from its expansion of free jazz's tonal and emotional palettes are still being felt".[2]

Track listing[edit]

Original LP[edit]

Side One

  1. "Ornette – 5:22
  2. "The Little Suite" – 10:20

Side Two

  1. "Sound" – 21:30

CD Reissue[edit]

  1. "Ornette" [alternative take] – 5:44
  2. "Sound 1" – 26:36
  3. "The Little Suite" – 10:27
  4. "Ornette" – 5:29
  5. "Sound 2" – 19:24
All compositions by Roscoe Mitchell
  • Recorded at Sound Studios, Inc. August 10–26, 1966



  1. ^ a b Cook, Richard; Brian Morton (2008). "Roscoe Mitchell". The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings. The Penguin Guide to Jazz (9th ed.). New York: Penguin. p. 1011. ISBN 978-0-14-103401-0. 
  2. ^ a b c Huey, S. Allmusic Review accessed September 27, 2011.
  3. ^ Kelsey, C. Free Jazz: A Subjective History accessed December 7, 2009