One of the most important records ever made, John Coltrane's A Love Supreme was his pinnacle studio outing, that at once compiled all of the innovations from his past, spoke to the current of deep spirituality that liberated him from addictions to drugs and alcohol, and glimpsed at the future innovations of his final two and a half years. Recorded over two days in December 1964, Trane's classic quartet–Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, and Jimmy Garrison– stepped into the studio and created one of the most the most thought-provoking, concise, and technically pleasing albums of their bountiful relationship.
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.
This 1999 live set features the great drummer Elvin Jones leading an all-star group. The repertoire, comprised of three jazz standards (including John Coltrane's lesser-known "Wise One"), three originals and an adaptation of a folk song, generally featuring one or two soloists on each cut. The straight-ahead and basic "E.J.'s Blues" has spots for trumpeter Darren Barrett (who sounds a bit like Freddie Hubbard) and Jones, while "Straight No Chaser" puts the spotlight on trombonist Robin Eubanks (in a J.J. Johnson mood), pianist Carlos McKinney and the drummer.
With every recording Omar Sosa releases, his horizons continue to broaden within the context of world ethnic fusion, but with Across the Divide, he's bettered himself yet again. This collection of jazz-influenced, Latin-tinged music crosses the disparate genres of country folk and tribal sounds, recognizing the migration of the banjo from Africa to the Eastern seaboard of America, and percussion from the griot village to the rural Mid-Atlantic. In collaboration with vocalist and story teller Tim Eriksen, Sosa merges rhythm and ancestry via inspiration from Langston Hughes, John Coltrane, King Sunny Ade, Pete Seger, and contemporary bluesman Otis Taylor as popular reference points.
Bahia is a steady, often very good hard-blowing and blues date featuring John Coltrane, recorded during one of his busiest periods, 1957-1958, but not released until 1965. (Coltrane cut numerous sessions during the late '50s for Prestige to satisfy a commitment to the label and move to Atlantic; some of these were packaged and released long after they were cut.) Most were done with the same rhythm section: pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Art Taylor (although Jimmy Cobb substituted for Taylor on two songs). Also featured is additional work by a pair of trumpeters: Wilbur Harden appears on "My Ideal" and "I'm a Dreamer, Aren't We All," while Freddie Hubbard takes over on "Something I Dreamed Last Night."