The year was 1959, and in New York City, Ornette Coleman’s quartet was creating a bona fide controversy with its six-week run at the Five Spot. The music was rhythmically loose and had at its core a melodic and harmonic approach that aggressively defied convention. Though important musical figures of the era, including Miles Davis and Leonard Bernstein, came down on different sides of the fence regarding the validity of Coleman’s approach, the appearances were a launch pad of sorts for Billy Higgins.

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