John Coltrane's Crescent from the spring of 1964 is an epic album, showing his meditative side that would serve as a perfect prelude to his immortal work A Love Supreme. His finest quartet with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones supports the somewhat softer side of Coltrane, and while not completely in ballad style, the focus and accessible tone of this recording work wonders for anyone willing to sit back and let this music enrich and wash over you. While not quite at the "sheets of sound" unfettered music he would make before his passing in 1967, there are hints of this group stretching out in restrained dynamics, playing as lovely a progressive jazz as heard anywhere in any time period.
John Coltrane's Crescent from the spring of 1964 is an epic album, showing his meditative side that would serve as a perfect prelude to his immortal work; A Love Supreme.
This second volume in Universal/Impulse's reissuing of the albums of John Coltrane contains some choice titles. For those who love the early Impulse Trane, there is certainly something here for you in the John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman collection of ballads. There's also the excellent quartet era with Live at Birdland, Crescent, and the seminal A Love Supreme, the record that changed everything ever after for him. In addition, there is the 1963 album Impressions, a compilation of sorts. There is a long quartet selection called "Up 'Gainst the Wall" (1962), a beautiful but brief "After the Rain" with drummer Roy Haynes sitting in for Elvin Jones from 1963, the title cut, and opening number "India," recorded with Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet and Reggie Workman as an additional bassist.
Recorded at several sessions in the two years prior to his death but not issued until 1972, Infinity was the subject of much controversy among Coltrane aficionados when it finally appeared. The horror on the part of Coltrane purists was directed to the posthumous string arrangements written by Alice Coltrane, his widow, which were grafted onto the performances. But however much the strings softened or unnecessarily augmented the music, it must be said that Alice Coltrane really didn't do such a bad job and the ultimate result is an unusual and oddly attractive work.
John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, really setting fire here in a classic live performance from the mid 60s – one of those very long, open-ended concert dates that was arguably even more impressive than some of Coltrane's studio album! The set was recorded in 1965, but not issued until a few years after Coltrane's death – and it's an amazing representation of the bold steps forward that Trane was taking at the time – working with Sanders in a set of very spiritual expressions that run in these out, open ways that are even different from the Coltrane sound of the year before!
Issued in 1968, more than a year after John Coltrane's death, Cosmic Music is co-credited to John and Alice Coltrane. Trane appears on only two of the four tracks here (they are also the longest): "Manifestation" and "Dr. King." They were both cut in February of 1966 at Coast Recorders in San Francisco, with the great saxophonist fronting his final quintet with Alice, Pharoah Sanders, Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali, and Ray Appleton adding percussion. "Manifestation" is also the first recorded instance of Sanders playing the piccolo in addition to his tenor saxophone; he takes an extended solo on the instrument. "Dr. King" was written to honor the civil rights leader during his lifetime. King's assassination occurred less than a year after the saxophonist's death.
A pure statement of being and essence – and one of John Coltrane's spiritual masterpieces from the 60s! The 1965 recording was one of Trane's most adventurous so far – as it featured just one album-length track, building up out of relatively free expressions from Coltrane in the studio – initially in the spirit of Love Supreme, but much sharper-edged and unbridled overall – as if the meditative spirit of the previous recording had unlocked a sense of freedom that refused to be tied down to simple structures! The group is great – and features Pharoah Sanders on tenor, Donald Garrett on bass clarinet, McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums – plus a bit of flute and percussion from Joe Brazil. The playing is much freer than on other albums of the time, but also has some introspective spiritual moments – clearly inspired by the Love Supreme recording, but taken a shade outside as well!
One of our favorite albums ever from John Coltrane – but a record that's sometimes eclipsed by the genius of A Love Supreme! The feel here is very similar to that one – long tracks that introduce a new mode of searching, spiritual jazz for the 60s – one that's performed by a core quintet with Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones – but which also features added players on the side-long title track! "Kulu Se Mama" is a tremendously bold statement in music – one that features a bit of spiritual vocals from Juno Lewis, plus added bass clarinet from Donald Garrett, tenor from Pharoah Sanders, and drums from Frank Butler. The two other tracks – "Vigil" and "Welcome" – are performed by a quartet, but are still equally great!