The '60s were, without a doubt, one of the most revolutionary times in modern culture. But for jazz, many of the most crucial, transformative changes actually took root the year before the decade began: Miles Davis opened up new space in his song structures and gave birth to modal jazz. Duke Ellington's band became the first African American group to score a major film. John Coltrane crested new heights with speed, complexity, and melodic genius. And Ornette Coleman did away with conventional harmony and form altogether. This playlist is merely a primer for what was happening at the end of the '50s. Start your journey here and dive in to one of the most important years in American music.