The artistic prowess of saxophonist John Coltrane was so expansive and influential - even in his own short lifetime, let alone in the decades since his death - that it's difficult to quantify or differentiate his significance as a leader, a collaborator, a sideman or any other role in the jazz idiom. What's certain, though, is that some of his most pivotal session work took place on the Prestige label in the 1950s.
Previously available only on a limited Japanese edition. These two sessions were produced by Lee Kraft in 1957 featuring the inimitable tenor saxophonist John Coltrane in two different formats; a quintet with Donald Byrd, Walter Bishop, Jr., Wendell Marshall and Art Blakey, and a 15-piece big band organized by Blakey. Coltrane was featured prominently in both settings and played exceptionally throughout. While the other soloists were all top-notch musicians, Coltranes compositions and performance clearly stole the show. His solos were powerful and confident, ripping out sequences of 16th note lines that soared over the full range of the horn with complete command.
This Savoy double CD brings together in one package all of the label's sessions led by Harden, a talented young musician who turned up briefly, disappeared and is presumed to have died in the 1960s. It includes several alternate takes, giving ample evidence of his attractiveness as a player. He wrote all the pieces, which are more substantial than the on-the-spot "compositions" of many Savoy sessions of the '50s. Sometimes playing trumpet and sometimes rotary valve flugelhorn, he was capable of range, power and bursts of speed, but he built many of his solos on a base of restraint, lyricism and a certain wistfulness.
The superb 2016 six-disc John Coltrane box set The Atlantic Years: In Mono brings together most of the legendary jazz musician's Atlantic albums into one package, restored to their original mono sound. Beginning in 1959, Coltrane's Atlantic years were a transformative time for the saxophonist, during which he furthered his modal explorations and began incorporating aspects of the avant-garde, a vital combination that he would later bring to its pinnacle on his 1965 Impulse! classic, A Love Supreme. Included here are the landmark albums Giant Steps (1960), Bags & Trane (1959) with vibraphonist Milt Jackson, Olé Coltrane (1961) featuring trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, Plays the Blues (1960), and Coltrane's collaboration with maverick pocket trumpeter Don Cherry, The Avant-Garde (1966). Also included is a 32-page book featuring photos by Lee Friedlander and liner notes by writer Ashley Kahn.
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…
There's no sense of "transition" here – as the album's an incredibly solid one, and stands with John Coltrane's best mid 60s work for Impulse – even if the session wasn't issued by the label until after his early death! The work builds strongly on the Love Supreme vibe – soaring, searching, and finding whole new space in jazz – but all with a unified conception that's driven by an unbridled sense of energy. The group here is the quartet with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums – and we're still quite puzzled why Impulse never managed to get this one released until a few years later! Titles include "Transition", "Dear Lord", and the side-long "Prayer and Meditation" suite.
John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, really setting fire here in a classic live performance from the mid 60s – one of those very long, open-ended concert dates that was arguably even more impressive than some of Coltrane's studio album! The set was recorded in 1965, but not issued until a few years after Coltrane's death – and it's an amazing representation of the bold steps forward that Trane was taking at the time – working with Sanders in a set of very spiritual expressions that run in these out, open ways that are even different from the Coltrane sound of the year before!