The fifties, though a quiescent period in many ways, was one of the most fervent decades in jazz history. The landmarks of modern jazz were firmly planted and, it could be argued, nearly all directions the music has taken since then can be charted back to recordings, groups, or individuals from this era. In this series of profiles, Joe Goldberg examines the lives and the music, the crucial events and dominant forces of a decade of great music and conflicting esthetics: Miles Davis’’s recording ofKind of Blue;Gerry Mulligan’’s pianoless quartet; Cecil Taylor’’s percussive keyboard experiments; John Coltrane’’s and Sonny Rollins’’s marathon saxophone solos; MJQ’’s blending of classical structure and jazz improvisation; Ornette Coleman’’s Free Jazz. From Mingus to Monk to Blakey, it was an age of giants. Perhaps never before or since in jazz history have so many wildly idiosyncratic jazz innovators been contemporaries. Joe Goldberg was there and what his ears heard has become here a lasting music document.