As per a request from durkk (see post #221 http://www.head-fi.org/t/693212/on-a-mission-to-like-jazz/210#post_10189881) I'm starting a thread where like minded members can freely discuss free jazz.
Before we begin I have one simple request: if you do not like free/avant-garde jazz, as in you think it's only noise and the musicians have no musical skills, etc, then please don't read this thread because I've been listening to this type of music for just over 40 years and I've heard negative comment imaginable as to why free jazz is terrible. I thank you in advance.
Okay now where were we? At the beginning I guess so a little history might be order.
The free jazz movement started with a bang back in the late 1950's as a handful of adventurous musicians began to explore ways to expand the boundaries of jazz. Although there were other musicians actively experimenting with freer ways of playing Ornette Coleman's Something Else: The Music of Ornette Coleman (1958) & The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959) as usually taken to be the opening salvos of the free jazz movement. While Ornette's music met with some very resistance there were and still are many people who found his new approach to jazz to be very intriguing, enough people in fact for a new movement to be born. Once Ornette broke the ice the flood gates opened and the other musicians who were experimenting with freer ways of playing soon began to come forward, both on record and in live performances.
Cecil Taylor (Looking Ahead! (1958)) and Sun Ra (any of his many recordings from the late 1950's) are two musicians who already had their music firmly planted with the seeds of free jazz but other more traditional jazz musicians soon joined in the free jazz movement. John Coltrane was the most well known jazz musician to make the jump to free jazz and he encountered a similar backlash to the one that Bob Dylan met with when he went electric. But I'm getting ahead of myself since first we need to cover the upheaval of the early 1960's in my next post.
By the way, there is plenty of information available on the web about the history of free/avant-garde jazz so by all means avail yourself of these resources and don't rely only my less than complete mini history.
So Ornette, Cecil and Sun Ra should be enough to get you started should you like to take the plunge into the world of free jazz.