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Something Else!!!!

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Something Else!!!!
Studio album by
Ornette Coleman
ReleasedSeptember 1958 (1958-09)[1]
RecordedFebruary 10, 22 & March 24, 1958
GenreFree jazz[2]
ProducerLester Koenig
Ornette Coleman chronology
Something Else!!!!
Tomorrow Is the Question!

Something Else!!!! (subtitled The Music of Ornette Coleman) is the debut album by jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman. It was released by Contemporary Records in September 1958.[1] According to AllMusic, the album "shook up the jazz world", revitalizing the union of blues and jazz and restoring "blues to their 'classic' beginnings in African music".[3] It is unusual in Coleman's output in that it features a conventional bebop quintet instrumentation (saxophone, cornet, piano, bass and drums); after this album, Coleman would omit the piano, creating a starker and more fluid sound.


While working as an elevator operator in a department store in Los Angeles, Ornette assembled a group of musicians—teenaged cornet player Don Cherry, double bass player Charlie Haden, and drummers Ed Blackwell and Billy Higgins—with whom he could explore his unusual jazz compositions.[4][5] Coleman was introduced to music producer Lester Koenig of Contemporary Records by a bebop bassist friend of Cherry's, Red Mitchell, who thought Koenig might be interested in purchasing Coleman's songs.[4] When other musicians found the tunes too challenging, Coleman was invited to perform the compositions himself.[4]

Critical opinion[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide[7]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings[8]
Tom HullB+[9]

Though often controversial at the time,[10] music from Coleman's first album is now generally well received. Rolling Stone commented admiringly on the composer's "genuinely original voice" and "freakishly structured tunes".[11] All About Jazz reviewer John Barrett Jr. cautions that, though dissonant, this album is not the first of the free jazz movement with which Coleman is so associated.[12] Nevertheless, in 2007, All About Jazz credited the album with introducing "a new era in jazz", transforming the genre by demonstrating a style of music "freed from the prevailing conventions of harmony, rhythm and melody".[13]

Pianist Ethan Iverson has written at length about this album and other recordings from Coleman's early period.[14] His argument is that on his early albums Coleman's attempts to break free of chords and chorus-structures are hampered by sidemen who are unwilling to follow his cue.

Release history[edit]

Originally released under the Contemporary imprint in mono and then later (either in 1959 or 1960) issued with a different cover photo and in stereo. The stereo remix of the album was re-released in 1992 on LP, compact disc and compact cassette in collaboration between Contemporary and OJC.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by Ornette Coleman.

  1. "Invisible" – 4:11
  2. "The Blessing" – 4:45
  3. "Jayne" – 7:17
  4. "Chippie" – 5:37
  5. "The Disguise" – 2:46
  6. "Angel Voice" – 4:19
  7. "Alpha" – 4:09
  8. "When Will the Blues Leave?" – 4:58
  9. "The Sphinx" – 4:13



  1. ^ a b Gold, Don, ed. (September 4, 1958). "Music News: USA West" (PDF). Down Beat. Vol. 25, no. 18. Chicago/New York: Maher Publications. p. 11.
  2. ^ "The 40 Most Groundbreaking Records of All Time". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 10 December 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  3. ^ Something Else!!!! at AllMusic
  4. ^ a b c Ornette Coleman 3 Bass Quintet Archived 2007-08-02 at archive.today. Accessed September 28, 2007.
  5. ^ Then Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine Official Ornette Coleman website. Accessed September 28, 2007.
  6. ^ Allmusic review
  7. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 45. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  8. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 274. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.
  9. ^ Hull, Tom (n.d.). "Jazz (1940–50s) (Reference)". tomhull.com. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  10. ^ Prize in Music – Biography Ornette Coleman Pulitzer. Accessed September 28, 2007
  11. ^ Brackett, Nathan, ed. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide, 4th edition. Simon & Schuster. 2004. Page 178.
  12. ^ Barrett, Jr. John. (December 1, 1998). Something Else!!!!—The Music of Ornette Coleman All About Jazz. Accessed September 28, 2007.
  13. ^ Ornette Coleman, 2007 Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, Opens the 2007/08 UCLA Live Jazz Series Sept. 26 September 5, 2007. Accessed September 28, 2007.
  14. ^ Iverson, Ethan (September 19, 2010). "This is Our Mystic". Do the Math. Archived from the original on March 20, 2012. Retrieved June 13, 2019.