The Shape of Jazz to Come is an influential album by Ornette Coleman. It was his debut album for Atlantic Records who released it in late 1959.
The Shape of Jazz to Come was one of the first avant-garde jazz albums ever recorded. It was recorded in 1959 by Coleman’s piano-less quartet. The album was considered shocking at the time, because it had no recognizable chord structure and included simultaneous improvisation by the performers in a much freer style than previously heard in jazz.
Coleman’s major breakthrough was to leave out chord-playing instruments. Each selection contains a brief melody, much like the tune of a typical jazz song, then several minutes of free improvisation, followed by a repetition of the main theme; while this resembles the conventional head-solo-head structure of bebop, it abandons the use of chord structures.