The album ASCENSION played a profoundly important role in John Coltrane's final period. Recorded in June 1965, almost exactly two years before his death, this session marks Coltrane's final stepping off point into free jazz. The album also marks a division for Coltrane's fans, as there are some that applaud his final escape from jazz tradition while others simply couldn't follow him into the great unknown.
What's the music like? Sound, sound, sound, a vast enveloping texture of brass. Look out for Sanders' solo - it's unlike anything you've ever heard (unless you've been deep in the jungle). It might be useful to follow the order of the soloists: Coltrane (tenor sax), Dewey Johnson (trumpet), Pharoah Sanders (tenor sax), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Archie Shepp (tenor sax), John Tchicai (alto sax), Marion Brown (alto sax).
And what's the experience like? Played loud, it'll do something for you that might approximate what it was like for the musicians. In the words of Marion Brown, "wildly exciting." ~ Amazon
Ascension is the single recording that placed John Coltrane firmly into the avant-garde.
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…
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.