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.
Ascension is the single recording that placed John Coltrane firmly into the avant-garde.
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
1965 was a furious time for John Coltrane. He had just come off the recording of the future landmark, A Love Supreme a year earlier and now was in mist of a series of quartet and ensemble sessions. By June of '65 Coltrane had recorded The Quartet Plays, OM, Kulu Se Mama, Selflessness and another landmark recording to rival A Love Supreme–Ascension. Ascension was a massive work that feature a who's who of future jazz legends (Freddie Hubbard, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Art Davis, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones, Marion Brown, Dewey Johnson and McCoy Tyner). It is another spiritual masterpiece that is difficult for the average Coltrane fan to get their head and ears around. It is a cavalcade of sound and emotion that is similar in scope to OM. Shortly after its release Coltrane set out on a European tour with his current quartet. This formed the basis for the Live In France release.