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Matthew Shipp/Free

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Free jazz is a more experimental, improvisational form of jazz that has its origins in the 1950s and 1960s. Frustrated by the limitations of common styles such as bebop, hard bop, and modal jazz, free jazz was an attempt to bring group-improvisation to the forefront, which resulted in a style that contained overtones of primitivism and spiritualism. Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Pharoah Sanders, Charles Mingus, and Sun Ra are all pioneers of the style. Though there are differences between the two, free jazz and avant-garde jazz have been considered synonymous.