5 Of The Best Experimental Jazz Albums
As far as I can remember, I’ve always had an appreciation for music that seemed to push the boundaries on more contemporary works. Whether or not this is a somewhat narcissistic music snob moment or just a natural observation, who cares. Regardless of this, experimental jazz has always been at the forefront as a genre I can appreciate and take a deeper listen into.
Still, there are numerous records in the experimental jazz spectrum, most of which I haven’t heard yet since it’s impossible to hear every piece of music. Nevertheless, highlighting five of the best experimental jazz albums is a simple enough task, especially considering the number of records in this particular genre I’ve already experienced at some point or another.
1. Sun Ra - The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra (1965)
Sun Ra was an American jazz composer, bandleader, and pianist who had a particular craft for experimentation. The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra was a massive moment in jazz history that went beyond the standard format of free jazz with slow and eerie builds to utter insanity.
2. Ornette Coleman - Science Fiction (1971)
Ornette Coleman was a jazz saxophonist and composer that embarked on a creative re-birth with Science Fiction in 1971. Manic energy is quite relevant in Science Fiction and it’s remarkable how an album like this was created in the early 1970s, let alone ever.
3. Dave Holland - Conference of the Birds (1973)
Although a bit more contemporary sounding initially compared to the previous works on this list, Dave Holland’s Conference of the Birds is a musical free-bodied expression of birds singing outside of his apartment with an embarkment on open-form jazz.
4. John Zorn - Naked City (1990)
For something slightly newer than what’s been listed, John Zorn’s Naked City is a compelling listen for its covers of movie themes and fusion of musical genres. Although it’s not under the traditional sense of jazz, it certainly falls under the avant-garde jazz spectrum.
5. Alice Coltrane - Journey in Satchidananda (1970)
The early 1970s were a special time for jazz and this is quite relevant to Alice Coltrane’s Journey In Satchidananda, a dreamy and euphoric listen that’s arguably one of the great albums of all time, regardless of the experimentation factor or not.
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