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JazzTimes 10: All-Time Great Jazz Quartets

From Goodman to Shorter, some of the best jazz has carried the sign of four

Ornette Coleman Quartet
Like Gerry Mulligan, Coleman got rid of the piano, but he went much further by also dispensing with regular chord changes. It pretty much goes without saying that his quartet with Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and Billy Higgins belongs on the short list of utterly revolutionary jazz groups, but we’ll say it again anyway. All of this band’s output is worth your time, but you may as well start with 1960’s Change of the Century (Atlantic), which features, in “Ramblin’” and “Una Muy Bonita,” some essential foundation stones of the Ornette catalogue.

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Originally Published
Mac Randall

Mac Randall

Mac Randall has been the editor of JazzTimes since May 2018. Prior to that, he wrote regularly for the magazine. He has written about numerous genres of music for a wide variety of publications over the past 30 years, including Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The New York Observer, Mojo, and Guitar Aficionado, and he has worked on the editorial staffs of Musician, LAUNCH (now Yahoo! Music), Guitar One, Teaching Music, Music Alive!, and In Tune Monthly. He is the author of two books, Exit Music: The Radiohead Story and 101 Great Playlists. He lives in New York City.