Considered by many to be his finest single album, Coltrane finds John Coltrane displaying all of the exciting elements that sparked brilliance and allowed his fully formed instrumental voice to shine through in the most illuminating manner. On tenor saxophone, he's simply masterful, offering the burgeoning sheets of sound philosophy into endless weavings of melodic and tuneful displays of inventive, thoughtful, driven phrases. Coltrane also plays a bit of soprano saxophone as a primer for his more exploratory work to follow. Meanwhile, bassist Jimmy Garrison, drummer Elvin Jones, and especially the stellar McCoy Tyner have integrated their passionate dynamics into the inner whole of the quartet.
John Coltrane (1926-67) was the most relentlessly exploratory musician in jazz history. He was always searching, seeking to take his music further in what he quite consciously viewed as a spiritual quest. In terms of public recognition, this quest began relatively late. The tenor saxophonist, a native of North Carolina who later moved to Philadelphia, was 28 when he joined the Miles Davis quintet in 1955, after years of paying dues in the big band and combo of Dizzy Gillespie (where he played alto before switching to tenor) and as a supporting player behind saxophonists Johnny Hodges, Eddie "Cleanhead” Vinson, and Earl Bostic. Coltrane’s anguished tone and multi-noted, rhythmically complex solos with Davis quickly elevated him to the front ranks of jazz…
Coltrane Jazz is the sixth studio album by jazz musician John Coltrane, released in 1961 on Atlantic Records. The song "Villa's Blues" is noted as a landmark recording, as it marks the first session date of the early John Coltrane Quartet on record. Featured alongside Coltrane are pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, and bassist Steve Davis. On June 20, 2000, Rhino Records reissued Coltrane Jazz as part of its Atlantic 50th Anniversary Jazz Gallery series. Included were four bonus tracks, two of which had appeared in 1975 on the Atlantic compilation Alternate Takes, the remaining pair earlier issued on The Heavyweight Champion: The Complete Atlantic Recordings in 1995…
The complicated rhythm patterns and diverse sonic textures on Olé Coltrane are evidence that John Coltrane was once again charting his own course. His sheer ability as a maverick – beyond his appreciable musical skills – guides works such as this to new levels, ultimately advancing the entire art form. Historically, it's worth noting that recording had already commenced two days prior to this session on Africa/Brass, Coltrane's debut for the burgeoning Impulse! label. The two sets complement each other, suggesting a shift in the larger scheme of Coltrane's musical motifs.
On his first session as a bandleader, tenor saxophonist John Coltrane is joined by Johnny Splawn on trumpet, Sahib Shihab on baritone sax, and a rhythm section of bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath with piano duties split between Mal Waldron and Red Garland. Right out of the gate, the propulsive syncopated beat that drives through the heart of Coltrane's fellow Philly denizen Calvin Massey's "Bakai" indicates that Coltrane and company are playing for keeps. Shihab's emphatic and repetitive drone provides a manic urgency that fuels the participants as they weave in and out of the trance-like chorus.
One of THE great jazz quartets of all time: Coltrane (tenor & soprano), McCoy Tyner (piano), the earth-shaking Elvin Jones (drums) and Steve Davis (bass, though 'Trane's band would most often feature Jimmy Garrison and sometimes Reggie Workman), playing a blues-inspired program of originals. This band had an empathy shared by only the best bands in jazz: the Brubeck and Miles Davis groups, the Modern Jazz Quartet–and it shows here, with warmth, confidence, economy and relaxed interplay.
A recording many consider his finest single album, and rightly so, John Coltrane displays all of the exciting elements that sparked brilliance and allowed his fully formed instrumental voice to shine through in the most illuminating manner.
Throughout John Coltrane's discography there are a handful of decisive and controversial albums that split his listening camp into factions. Generally, these occur in his later-period works such as Om and Ascension, which push into some pretty heady blowing. As a contrast, Ballads is often criticized as too easy and as too much of a compromise between Coltrane and Impulse! (the two had just entered into the first year of label representation). Seen as an answer to critics who found his work complicated with too many notes and too thin a concept, Ballads has even been accused of being a record that Coltrane didn't want to make.