Archive for the John COLTRANE Category

John COLTRANE – Blue Train 1957

Posted in JAZZ, John COLTRANE on December 25, 2010 by whoisthemonk

John COLTRANE – Blue Train 1957
BNST 1577


With 1957’s BLUE TRAIN, John Coltrane not only firmly established his own voice on the tenor saxophone, but also proved his abilities as a bandleader and composer. The musicians on BLUE TRAIN, hand-picked by Coltrane himself, play superbly, not only as individuals, but also as a cohesive unit–a rare occurence in an era where “all-star” ensembles would come together for one session, then disband just as quickly. Nineteen-year-old trumpeter Lee Morgan spins bop lines in a warm tone, belying his age with his extraordinary playing, while drummer Philly Joe Jones and bassist Paul Chambers keep BLUE TRAIN running with impressive agility.

Two of Coltrane’s compositions here, “Moment’s Notice” and “Lazy Bird,” contain the seeds of harmonic exploration to be found in his later work. At this stage of his career, Trane was still occupied with blowing over increasingly challenging chord changes. His unique tone could be warm and sweet or sharp and insistent, but is always amazingly expressive. Throughout this revered album, Coltrane packs more emotion into one phrase than most arists are capable of in a whole tune.
Blue Train is a hard bop jazz album by John Coltrane, recorded on September 15, 1957, at the Van Gelder Studio. It is considered Coltrane’s first solo album, as it is the first he recorded featuring musicians and songs entirely of his choosing. All of the compositions were written by Coltrane, except “I’m Old Fashioned”, a Jerome Kern/Johnny Mercer standard. The title track is a long, rhythmically variegated blues with a brooding minor theme that gradually shifts to major during Coltrane’s first chorus. “Locomotion” is also a blues riff tune, in thirty-two-bar form. The album was his only recording for Blue Note Records (catalogue number BST 81577).

Coltrane’s next major album—1959’s Giant Steps—would break new melodic and harmonic ground in jazz, whereas Blue Train adheres to the hard bop style of the era. Two of its songs—”Moment’s Notice” and “Lazy Bird”—demonstrate Coltrane’s first recorded use of Coltrane changes, which he would later expand upon on Giant Steps.
John Coltrane was a monster of the tenor sax as early as 1955, when he first joined Miles Davis’ band. An overachiever, Coltrane had a relentless and unvarying passion for practice, for improving his skills as an artist. As he progressed through his quite legendary career, he never ceased to amaze.
BLUE TRAIN (1957) is a classic; an album often heralded as one of the greatest records of the 1950s by fans and jazz educators alike. It gives the listener a very clear view of what made these musicians so great. You will notice things like Coltrane’s (and pianist Kenny Drew’s) tasteful and masterful usage of the blues scale in the chant-like title cut. Many musicians have the tendency to drive that scale into the ground when playing the blues. Not so here: these guys were well beyond that sort of thing. On Jerome Kern’s “I’m Old Fashioned,” you will hear Coltrane’s (or was it Kenny Drew’s?) ascending-stepwise reharmonization. The Lee Morgan and Curtis Fuller solos on “Locomotion” are a delight, but that’s true of the entire album.

It is well known that the Coltrane composition “Giant Steps” (released in 1959) is a bear to play, to improvise on the changes. But, even here, Coltrane was writing tunes that could shake a few people up. “Moment’s Notice” is one such tune. It has an ABAC structure (8 bars, 8 bars, 8 bars, 14 bars: a total of 38 bars for one time through)–hard enough to follow–along with a barrage of formidable chord changes. Some say the song got its name when Curtis Fuller asked, “You expect me to play these changes at a moment’s notice?”

BLUE TRAIN is certainly deserving of being hailed as a “classic,” a term grossly overused these days. Imagination or creativity doesn’t always come in the form of extreme busyness, and if you give this album your full attention, it will offer riches galore. There is good reason why BLUE TRAIN is listed on many a jazz educator’s essential recordings list: It IS essential. (Seeing that this reissue gives you all the bonus extras for just a few bucks more, I can’t see going for the earlier one.)
By Murray TheCat.
Is “Blue Train” my favorite John Coltrane album? No, it isn’t. Is it still a classic? You bet. Here is a record that captures the essence of cool and exudes style and grace so effortlessly, the music almost seems to float on air. John and his band give nothing less than 100% throughout this album, and their superb playing helped shape up what is now known as probably the most familiar jazz record that isn’t performed by Miles Davis. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to this album, but having recently gotten the newly packaged edition, I’ve reintroduced myself to a “Blue Train” that actually improves over the original recording. For one, the remastered version presents the album the way it was meant to be heard: clean and crisp. The incredible title track and “Locomotion” benefit most from the remastering, and Coltrane’s sax playing is even more commanding this time around. Also, we get alternative versions of 2 tracks: the better of the two is “Blue Train.” On this version, Coltrane’s playing differs quite significantly, but it works just as well. In addition, the disc has an enhanced portion for your PC where you can listen to retrospective interviews from engineer Rudy Van Gelder, as well as a brief black-and-white video where Coltrane is performing with Miles Davis onstage. So if you’re new to Coltrane and are unsure which version of “Blue Train” to get, this baby is the one to pick up. The remastering provides a better sound, you get two bonus tracks, and there’s a decent handful of extras to view/listen on your computer. “Blue Train” still holds up as a classic, and its remastering and repackaging are well deserved.
By The Groove.
Piano- Kenny Drew
Tenor Sax- John Coltrane
Trombone- Curtis Fuller
Trumpet- Lee Morgan
Bass- Paul Chambers
Drums- Joe Jones
A1. Blue Train  10:41
A2. Moment’s Notice  9:09
B1. Locomotion  7:13
B2. I’m Old Fashioned  7:57
B3. Lazy Bird  7:05
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John COLTRANE – The Paris Concert 1962

Posted in JAZZ, John COLTRANE on December 11, 2010 by whoisthemonk

John COLTRANE – The Paris Concert 1962
1993 Issue.


Each of the musicians in this fabulous live concert is given the chance to go with the music in front of a fantasticly appreciative and responsive crowd. Skip over albums that are live versions of the same studio recordings, played in some smoky bar with only background noise to tell you it’s live. This album captures the response of the crowd and the musicians feed off of it. A great Coltrane piece.
This was a brand new band when Coltrane played with Garrison, Jones and Tyner in 1961. The avant gaurde was years away, and this show works between standards and material from Giant Steps.
Of the three numbers, two are good, but it is Mr. P.C. that rules the album. The quartet jams for twenty minutes on the minor blues, changing it from a compact studio horse race into an improvosation vehical.
The blues changes on P.C. have a lemon bite and while all do well, Jimmy Garrison is king with his symphonic solo. Don’t beleive me: listen to the applause when he is through.
Ironically, Garrison’s early moment in the sun was named for Mr. Paul Chambers, a bassist Coltrane shared with one Mr M.D. Miles Davis.
By William R. Nicholas.
This excellent CD by the classic John Coltrane Quartet (with pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones) is highlighted by a 26-minute version of “Mr. P.C.” Also included on the album are “The Inch Worm” and the ballad “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” Although the sound and passion of the group on this date will not surprise veteran listeners, it is always interesting to hear new variations of songs already definitively recorded in the studios. The Paris Concert is recommended to all true Coltrane fanatics.
By Scott Yanow. AMG.
John Coltrane- Tenor Sax
McCoy Tyner- Piano
Jimmy Garrison- Bass
Elvin Jones- Drums
01. Mr. P.C. 26:17
02. The Inch Worm 10:15
03. Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye 4:48

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John COLTRANE – Four Tenors 1960 (AVI)

Posted in Ben WEBSTER, Charles LLOYD, JAZZ, John COLTRANE, MOVIES, Sonny ROLLINS on December 5, 2010 by whoisthemonk

John COLTRANE – Four Tenors 1960 (AVI)
Dvd 2003.


All the master tenors that recorded for Jazz Casual on one single DVD. It includes performances in quartet of Coltrane, Webster, Rollins and Charles Lloyd, all of them joined by a stunning court of sidemen that includes McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones, Vince Guaraldi, Jimmy Whiterspoon, Jim Hall, Bob Cranshaw, Ben Riley, Keith Jarrett, Ron McClure and Jack DeJohnette. Almost two hours of the best Jazz ever filmed. 20th Century.
John Coltrane, Ben Webster, Sonny Rollins and Charles Lloyd
This DVD is a collector’s edition of four 1960s television performances featuring John Coltrane, Ben Webster, Charles Lloyd (with Keith Jarrett) and Sonny Rollins.
John Coltrane Quartet (June, 1963):
John Coltrane- Tenor Saxophone;
McCoy Tyner- Piano;
Jimmy Garrison- Bass;
Elvin Jones- Drums.

Afro Blue  7:12
Alabama  5:55
Impressions  13:58
Ben Webster Quartet (1962):
Ben Webster- Tenor Saxophone;
Vince Guaraldi- Piano;
Monty Budwig- Bass;
Colin Bailey- Drums;
Jimmy Witherspoon- Vocals.

Times Getting Tougher  2:07
‘Tain’t Nobody’s Bizness  4:00
Cotton Tail  4:09
Chelsea Bridge  5:14
I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town  5:01
Roll ‘Em  1:56
Ben’s Little Scheme  2:39
Sonny Rollins Quartet (1962):
Sonny Rollins- Tenor Saxophone;
Jim Hall- Guitar;
Bob Cranshaw- Bass;
Ben Riley- Drums.

The Bridge  5:14
God Bless the Child  5:51
If Ever I Would Leave You  10:49
Charles Lloyd Quartet (1968):
Charles Lloyd- Tenor Saxophone;
Keith Jarrett- Piano;
Ron McLure- Bass;
Jack DeJohnette- Drums.

Love Ship  6:39
Tagore/Passing Through  20:14
Forest Flower  1:44

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John COLTRANE – The Olatunji Concert, The Last Live Recording 1967

Posted in JAZZ, John COLTRANE on November 29, 2010 by whoisthemonk

John COLTRANE – The Olatunji Concert, The Last Live Recording 1967
2001 Issue.


That John Coltrane was one of the greatest and most influential jazz musicians ever is not in doubt, but his late recordings still polarise opinion between those who regard them as works of unparalleled, spiritually driven intensity and those who see them as self indulgent cacophony. The release of this album is likely to reinforce those opinions rather than change them, but it is definite evidence of the strength and clarity of Coltrane’s vision, undimmed by the illness that was to take his life some three months later.

The Olatunji concert features the last working unit of Coltrane, his wife Alice on piano, Pharoah Sanders on tenor, Jimmy Garrison on bass and drummer Rashid Ali, augmented by the percussion of Algie de Witt and Hendrix associate Jumma Santos. From the opening bars of Ogunde (a mere three and a half minutes on the last studio date, Expression, but here swelled to a massive 28), it’s clear that the band are on fire. Coltrane opens with a brief tenor exposition, followed by Sander’s skyscraping tenor screams and Alice Coltrane’s rippling, bluesy runs. Alice had found a route into the music that long time pianist Mcoy Tyner couldn’t; while Tyner had retired hurt from the polyrhythmic assault of Ali’s drums, Alice decided to ride the wave, calmly peeling off Monkish chords over the ecstatic maelstrom created by the other players. The leader’s lengthy solo is a gripping, restless examination of repeated phrases, accelerated at dizzying speed till they break up and regroup; though critics bemoaned the loss of the magisterial tone of earlier Coltrane in a welter of split tones and overblowing, his playing still retains its power and grace. Moreover there’s an intention to Coltrane’s playing here which transcends much of the macho free jazz posturing of lesser players who followed in his wake. It’s full of sound and fury alright, but it’s signifying something.

The other track is “My Favourite Things”, long a staple of Coltrane’s repertoire since 1960. Opening with a typically lucid solo from Garrison, stuffed full of blues drenched yearning, the treatment here differs from the gently Eastern modalities of earlier versions; Ali opts for pulse rather than swing, pushing Coltrane’s soprano into darting intervallic leaps; Sanders solos thoughtfully (showing remarkable empathy with Ali) till erupting into desperate screams and finally stating the melody as the leader’s soprano blasts back in. The recording quality is a bit duff, though it’s tempting to think that the distortions and drop outs are a result of the machinery’s inability to capture this music rather than poor engineering. Still, until the invention of a time machine this is the closest we’re going to get to being there. Essential.
By Peter Marsh.
John Coltrane (soprano & tenor saxophones),
Pharoah Sanders (tenor saxophone),
Alice Coltrane (piano),
Jimmy Garrison (bass),
Rashied Ali (drums),
Algie DeWitt (bata drum).
01. Introduction by Billy Taylor
02. Ogunde
03. My Favorite Things

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John COLTRANE – Coltrane’s Sound 1960

Posted in JAZZ, John COLTRANE on November 18, 2010 by whoisthemonk

John COLTRANE – Coltrane’s Sound 1960
1999 Issue


The October 1960 sessions which comprise COLTRANE’S SOUND present a portrait of the John Coltrane Quartet in its infancy, yet many of the mature elements which were to distinguish the group during its primacy are already in place. COLTRANE’S SOUND was among the last releases to emerge from his Atlantic sessions, but, in some ways, it’s among the most satisfying.

John Coltrane’s search for the ideal rhythm section coincided with his transition from hard bop to the emerging modal stylings first suggested by Miles Davis on KIND OF BLUE. Elvin Jones’ polyrhythmic inventions exploited the tension between triplets and eighth notes, and with his unique cymbal sound and powerful technique, Jones perfected a new rhythmic style of phrasing. Pianist McCoy Tyner offered a rich harmonic palette and a supple lyric dimension. He was able to play convincingly in hard bop and ballad modes, yet he also understood how to reinforce Elvin Jones’ rhythmic ideas and feed the saxophonist droning chordal support that didn’t limit Trane to any conventional chordal cycles. Bassist Steve Davis would soon be supplanted, but he sensed Coltrane’s new rhythmic priorities, and moved comfortably from vamping ostinatos to pulsing swing.

The ballad “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” is given a new rhythmic dimension, powered along by Jones’ snaking Afro-Cuban beat and swinging release (a favored Coltrane device), and the saxophonist expounds on the theme with vigorous harmonic variations, followed by Tyner’s chanting chords and driving lines. “Central Park West” features Trane’s gently wafting soprano and is among his most tender ballads, while “Liberia” is a rhythmically exuberant cousin to old boss Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night In Tunisia.” The classic tenor ballad “Body And Soul” is transformed by Tyner’s fresh voicings and Jones’ overtones of gospel and swing, while “Equinox” evokes images of Africa and the deep south in its moody blues refrains. The concluding “Satellite” is an exercise in hard swing, as Trane traverses “Giant Step”-like changes with fresh rhythmic urgency.
This is one of the most highly underrated entries in Coltrane’s voluminous catalog. Although the same overwhelming attention bestowed upon My Favorite Things was not given to Coltrane’s Sound upon its initial release, both were actually recorded during the same three-day period in the fall of 1960. So prolific were those recording dates, they informed no less than five different Coltrane albums on Atlantic. The title could not have been more accurate, as each of the six pieces — eight if you count the CD bonus tracks — bear the unmistakable and indelible stamp of Coltrane’s early-’60s style. “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” and “Body and Soul” — the only tracks not penned by Coltrane — are given unique and distinctive voices. Animating the arrangements on these sessions were Coltrane (soprano/tenor sax), Steve Davis (bass), Elvin Jones (drums), and McCoy Tyner (piano). It’s perhaps Tyner’s recollection of the quartet as “four pistons in an engine” that most aptly explains the singular drive heard during Coltrane’s extended runs on “Liberia.” Tyner flawlessly complements Coltrane with full resonating chords that cling to his volley of sound. The rhythmic gymnastics of percussionist Jones is also showcased as his double-jointed bop swing and military band precision are distinctly displayed on the blues “Equinox.” The opening six bars give Jones a chance to make a contrasting statement — which he takes full advantage of. The two CD bonus tracks — “26-2” as well as an alternate take of “Body and Soul” — are also available on the Heavyweight Champion: The Complete Atlantic Recordings box set. Regardless of the format, these recordings remain among Trane’s finest.
By Lindsay Planer, All Music Guide.
One of the more obscure John Coltrane albums for Atlantic – but a beautiful batch of spiritual numbers that really show him pushing towards the sound of A Love Supreme! The date on the album’s 1966, but the material was recorded earlier – in that key turning point year of 1960, when Coltrane really started to let loose with his new ideas – ideas so fresh, in fact, that they might have kept this record from getting released at the time! The group here features piano from McCoy Tyner, drums from Elvin Jones, and bass from Steve Davis – an oft-overlooked talent who did some amazing work with Coltrane during this brief time. The tracks are open, flowing, and filled with imagination – and Coltrane works both on tenor and soprano sax, on titles that include “Liberia”, “Equinox”, “Satellite”, “Central Park West”, and a classic reading of “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes”.
From Dusty Groove.
When Rhino Records released The Heavyweight Champion, which collected all John Coltrane’s recordings for Atlantic Records, it was finally time to witness in whole how incredible the saxophonist’s output was in October 1960. The material for Coltrane’s Sound, Coltrane Plays the Blues, and the vastly successful My Favorite Things all came together over the course of several October days. And here, finally, is the missing piece of the October trilogy. Coltrane had pioneered a new musical architecture in early 1959 when he cut the groundbreaking Giant Steps (also available as the 1987 reissue), and with these three albums, he merely extended and exercised the new approach. Bebop was in the rearview, stretchy modal formulations in the distant foreground. In between, ‘Trane was using his soprano sax to great effect–as on the low-end wonderland “Central Park West” and part of the cooking “26-2”–and playing closely related chords forwards, backwards, and in instantaneously reconstructed formations. Coltrane’s Sound shouldn’t surprise, then, with what sound like drop shadows behind other recordings of the 1959-60 period. It’s vintage stuff, bristling with his discovery and powerhousing with the utmost sensitivity.
By Andrew Bartlett.
This is a Rhino Records reissue of one great Coltrane album! This album is not only a great introduction to John Coltrane for the new listener, but in my opinion, it is Coltrane’s finest. There is a tremendous amount of innovation here yet it is very accessible to the average ear.
Coltrane pushes bebop here as far as it can possibly go. He does so with dynamic style, dexterity, and a real clean sound. It took a very accomplished band behind him to give him the infrastructure to do this and they must be acknowledged for their great performances as well. McCoy Tyner plays piano, Steve Davis on the bass, and Elvin Jones on the drums.
I own a lot of Coltrane albums. Some of which are compilations and some which were originals but I have to say that “Coltrane’s Sound” is one of those albums that belongs in every jazz collection. It’s up there with Miles Davis’,” Birth of Cool”, Art Pepper’s “Eleven”, Sonny Rollins’, “Colossus” etc. etc.
To add equity to the purchase Rhino includes both a nineteen-page booklet and two bonus tracks; one of which is alternate take of “Body and Soul”. The second song is called “26-2” and it is quite good. The booklet can get a little pedantic or even pompous at times but it gives good info about each song, the people that made this album great, and a history of the album from many qualitative perspectives.
This album should be your first Coltrane album or your next.
By T.Austin.
Coltrane’s Sound was recorded at the same October 1960 sessions as My Favorite Things. (Coltrane Plays the Blues also comes from these sessions.) Though it has never achieved the same popularity as MFT, in my opinion Coltrane’s Sound is actually a better album! It comes from a period where Coltrane finally got a working band (McCoy Tyner, Steve Davis, Elvin Jones) together and was shifting direction away from the harmonic density of Giant Steps and “sheets of sound” toward modal improvisation and more open structures.
Coltrane was experimenting with a bunch of approaches around this time, making variety one of this album’s strengths. He plays soprano saxophone on the beautiful ballad “Central Park West” (pretty rare for him — he usually played ballads on the tenor). “Satellite” is a piano-less trio tune. “Night of a Thousand Eyes” and “Liberia” are explosive workouts which already showcase Coltrane’s powerful tenor playing and his special relationship with Elvin Jones. “Equinox” has him digging deep, deep into the blues — some of Coltrane’s finest, most powerful blues playing this side of “Chasin’ the Trane”. Throughout this album, his playing is overflowing with ideas.

The Atlantic recordings contain some of John Coltrane’s best, most accessible, and most focused music. If you’ve already heard Giant Steps and My Favorite Things (or if you haven’t), don’t hesitate to pick up Coltrane’s Sound.
By G.B.
John Coltrane (soprano & tenor saxophones);
McCoy Tyner (piano);
Steve Davis (bass);
Elvin Jones (drums).
1. The Night Has A Thousand Eyes 6:53
2. Central Park West 4:16
3. Liberia 6:53
4. Body And Soul 5:40
5. Equinox 8:38
6. Satellite 5:56
7. 26-2 (*) 6:17
8. Body And Soul (Alternate Take)(*) 5:58

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