One of the greatest recordings ever made by John Coltrane in his late years – a spare set of duets with drummer Rashied Ali, recorded in 1967, but never issued until after his death! Trane and Ali play in a free spiritualist mode, with no other accompaniment – making for a very unique album, especially for the time, and setting the tone for years of New York improvisation in the 70s. Titles include "Mars", "Venus", "Jupiter", and "Saturn".
Brilliant work from Coltrane – recorded in the 60s, but not issued until the late 70s, and only then, not properly in print until the release of this great package! The material is classic Coltrane Quartet sessions – with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones working with Trane to craft some long tracks that show the expanding genius of the group at the time. The spirit of the work is in the "new thing" mode of the 60s – more adventurous than even Coltrane's work from a few years before – and titles include "Living Space", "Dusk-Dawn", "The Last Blues", and "Untitled 90314".
Key 60s material from the great John Coltrane – even if the set wasn't ever released until the late 70s! The album's kind of a "prequel" to the later Meditations record, and it stands as a key bridge between Coltrane's modal years and his more spiritual sounds – delivered here by a core quartet, without the larger accompaniment that graced the later version! The classic quartet is at their best – McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums – and the sound is slightly more inside than later, but no less filled with searching and yearning! CD version contains a 12 minute extended alternate take of "Joy", the centerpiece of the composition.
The superb 2016 six-disc John Coltrane box set The Atlantic Years: In Mono brings together most of the legendary jazz musician's Atlantic albums into one package, restored to their original mono sound. Beginning in 1959, Coltrane's Atlantic years were a transformative time for the saxophonist, during which he furthered his modal explorations and began incorporating aspects of the avant-garde, a vital combination that he would later bring to its pinnacle on his 1965 Impulse! classic, A Love Supreme. Included here are the landmark albums Giant Steps (1960), Bags & Trane (1959) with vibraphonist Milt Jackson, Olé Coltrane (1961) featuring trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, Plays the Blues (1960), and Coltrane's collaboration with maverick pocket trumpeter Don Cherry, The Avant-Garde (1966). Also included is a 32-page book featuring photos by Lee Friedlander and liner notes by writer Ashley Kahn.
One of the turning points in the career of John Coltrane came in 1965. The great saxophonist, whose playing was always very explorative and searching, crossed the line into atonality during that year, playing very free improvisations (after stating quick throwaway themes) that were full of passion and fury. This particular studio album has two standards (a stirring "Chim Chim Cheree" and "Nature Boy") along with two recent Coltrane originals ("Brazilia" and "Song of Praise"). Art Davis plays the second bass on "Nature Boy," but otherwise this set (a perfect introduction for listeners to Coltrane's last period) features the classic quartet comprised of the leader, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones.
Arguably John Coltrane's finest all-around album, this recording has brilliant versions of "Afro Blue" and "I Want to Talk About You"; the second half of the latter features Coltrane on unaccompanied tenor tearing into the piece but never losing sight of the fact that it is a beautiful ballad. The remainder of this album ("Alabama," "The Promise," and "Your Lady") is almost at the same high level.
The classic 1962 album Duke Ellington & John Coltrane showcased the rising jazz saxophone innovator performing alongside the long-established piano institution. While the pairing might have portended a dynamic clash of the musical generations, instead we got a casual, respectful, and musically generous meeting of like-minded souls. Similarly, while one might have assumed that Ellington would use his sidemen, instead producer Bob Thiele (who also produced similar albums for Ellington including pairings with Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins) chose to bring in Coltrane's own outfit for the proceedings.