Rare stuff from John Coltrane! The album features Trane playing tenor on only 4 of the album's 8 tracks – making it kind of surprising that they used his name in the title – but the album is a lesser-known batch of large group recordings that offer an interesting early chapter in his career! The main force behind the album is arranger Harry Tubbs – possibly not a name that's as sexy as John Coltrane, hence the billing – but a worthy leader for the date, given the quality of the music.
For this 1958 LP, Anita O'Day sings standards associated with other musicians, including "Four" (Miles Davis), "Early Autumn" (Stan Getz), "Four Brothers" (Woody Herman), "Sing, Sing, Sing" (Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa) and "Peanut Vendor" (Stan Kenton). Some of the material is unusual for a singer to interpret, but O'Day, one of the top jazz vocalists of the decade, improvises when the lyrics are not that strong (or barely exist). The backup by the Russ Garcia Orchestra is not all that memorable, but the focus is entirely on the vocalist, and O'Day really comes through.
The complete original LP More of the Greatest Piano of Them All (Verve MGV-8347), showcasing the brilliant pianist unaccompanied. This album, which includes original liner notes by André Previn, was part of the marathon sessions jazz producer Norman Granz planned for Tatum, who at that time was seriously ill and neglected by record companies due to stylistic changes in the music industry. He would die on November 5, 1956 at the age of 47. As a bonus, we have added the complete album Still More of the Greatest Piano of Them All (Verve MGV-8360), which includes original liner notes by Teddy Wilson, plus one extra track, all recorded during the same sessions.