- Lennie Tristano Sextet: “Intuition” (1947-1951, Chronological Jazz Classics, 2003 [originally recorded May 16, 1949])
Free jazz begins here. Ten years before Ornette Coleman, Tristano and company brought out a recorded track with no predetermined anything. No chord changes, no melody, no rhythm or even tempo (the drummer on the session, Denzil Best, sits the tune out entirely). The end result, originally released on Crosscurrents, is an undeniably weird and amorphous piece that still manages to find an irregular sort of shape as the players interact and develop melodic fragments in this and that direction. It was still an experiment, rather than the new manifesto that Coleman and others would create—but a bold groundbreaking nonetheless.