Don Cherry

The second track from Tomorrow Is the Question -- Ornette Coleman's 1959 wake-up call to the fusty hard bop movement -- is a medium tempo blues, "Tears Inside." After the statement of the tune's two-beat, countrified-bebop theme, trumpeter Don Cherry plays a solo that -- for all its frail beauty and general adherence to modern jazz's harmonic conventions -- sounds as if it might have been played by Miles Davis or Chet Baker. Coleman and Cherry were vanguardists, to be sure, and they were received as such by critics, musicians, and audiences alike. Even so, today, in listening to these early free jazz sides, one wonders what all the fuss was about, for it's clear that both musicians -- especially Cherry -- played in a style derived from the mainstream of jazz's development.