Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation is the sixth album by jazzsaxophonist and composerOrnette Coleman, recorded in 1960. Its title established the name of the then-nascent free jazz movement. The album features a double quartet, one in each stereo channel; the rhythm sections play simultaneously, and though there is a succession of solos as is usual in jazz, they are peppered with freeform commentaries by the other horns that often turn into full-scale collective improvisation. The pre-composed material is a series of brief, dissonantfanfares for the horns which serve as interludes between solos. Not least among the album's achievements was that it was the first LP-length improvisation, nearly forty minutes in length, which was unheard of at the time.
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. It served as the blueprint for later large-ensemble free jazz recordings such as John Coltrane's Ascension and Peter Brötzmann's Machine Gun.
"Free Jazz" – 37:10
"First Take" – 17:02 <small>Bonus track on CD reissue; first issued on 1971 compilation LP, Twins.</small>