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John Coltrane|Fearless Leader

Fearless Leader

John Coltrane

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In the spring of 1957, when he signed with Bob Weinstock's Prestige Records, John Coltrane was still a relative newcomer to the national jazz scene. He wasn't, at age 30, a youngster by any means, and he had already been playing professionally for more than a dozen years, but most of that had been as a sideman and he was known primarily to insiders. Most recently, since 1955, he'd worked for Miles Davis, who had first recognized Coltrane's potential in the late '40s. Coltrane's blowing with Davis' quintet was often brilliant, sometimes spotty, promising overall, but the saxophonist's heroin habit was getting the better of him and Davis cut him loose a number of times before finally disbanding the group in 1957. Weinstock was well familiar with Coltrane's growing reputation and had used him as a sideman at the label. When he gave him a contract as a leader, he could not have known, of course, that he was setting off one of the most monumentally influential careers jazz would ever know. At Prestige, Coltrane, now cleaned up from drugs, was ridiculously prolific, taking part in some 27 sessions in all during 1957 and 1958, the entirety of which, 125 tracks, can be heard on the 16-disc box set The Prestige Recordings. This six-disc set seems almost minimal in comparison, eschewing Coltrane's sideman work at Prestige to concentrate on his role as frontman. But by focusing on Coltrane as an increasingly creative, at times explosive, groundbreaking force, this "compact" set is, in its own way, the more potent of the two. And Fearless Leader is an appropriate title: Coltrane was by nature unafraid to take chances, eager to dare himself and his musicians to go places jazz had yet to travel. He wasn't quite up to running speed yet at Prestige, but he was well on his way to figuring out that the possibilities were boundless. While some of the Prestige recordings might seem almost tame and mainstream in comparison to the music Coltrane would later cut for Atlantic and Impulse!, that's really only in retrospect: seen in the context of its time, the sessions that Coltrane cut at Prestige -- released originally on such albums as Coltrane, Traneing In, The Believer, Soultrane, and the stunning ballads/standards set Lush Life, on which Coltrane plays it relatively straight, displaying a debt to Charlie Parker that would dissipate as he proceeded to probe worlds Bird never dreamed of -- raised the bar higher than it had ever been at the time. As Fearless Leader is arranged by session and does not attempt to replicate the original albums' running orders, however, those earlier contexts cease to exist and listeners are left to experience the music as Coltrane -- working at Prestige mainly with such peers as pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, drummers Art Taylor and Louis Hayes, and trumpeters Donald Byrd and Freddie Hubbard -- cut it, chronologically. Whatever tentativeness he was still feeling early in the relationship slowly gives way, and by the end of Coltrane's tenure at the label, his signature aggressive probing is in full swing, notably on tracks such as "Bahia" and "Goldsboro Express," from his December 1958 session, and a breakneck "Lover Come Back to Me" from earlier that year. Although he was still capable of playing it straight and unadorned -- his blues and romantic ballads are uniformly moving and elegantly laid out -- and Coltrane's Prestige era was a transitional one to be sure, Fearless Leader makes clear that the roots of his genius were already firmly planted.
© Jeff Tamarkin /TiVo

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Fearless Leader

John Coltrane

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1
Straight Street (Album Version)
00:06:17

John Coltrane, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1957 Original Jazz Classics

2
While My Lady Sleeps (Album Version)
00:04:41

Gus Kahn, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Bronislaw Kaper, ComposerLyricist - Mal Waldron, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Albert "Tootie" Heath, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Johnny Splawn, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1957 Original Jazz Classics

3
Chronic Blues (Album Version)
00:08:12

John Coltrane, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1957 Original Jazz Classics

4
Bakai (Album Version)
00:08:40

John Coltrane, MainArtist - Cal Massey, Composer

℗ 1957 Original Jazz Classics

5
Violets For Your Furs (Album Version)
00:06:15

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Matt Dennis, ComposerLyricist - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Albert "Tootie" Heath, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Thomas Adair, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1957 Original Jazz Classics

6
Time Was (Album Version)
00:07:27

Gabriel Luna De La Fuente, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, MainArtist - Sidney Keith Russell, ComposerLyricist - Paz Prado, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1957 Original Jazz Classics

7
I Hear A Rhapsody (Album Version)
00:06:00

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Albert "Tootie" Heath, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Jack Baker, ComposerLyricist - Dick Gasparre, ComposerLyricist - George Fragos, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1957 Prestige Records, Inc.

8
Trane's Slo Blues
00:06:03

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Earl May, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Arthur Taylor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1957 Prestige Records, Inc.

9
Slowtrane (Album Version)
00:07:17

John Coltrane, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1965 Prestige Records, Inc.

10
Like Someone In Love (Album Version)
00:04:58

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Johnny Burke, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Van Heusen, ComposerLyricist - Earl May, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Taylor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1958 Fantasy, Inc.

11
I Love You (Album Version)
00:05:31

Cole Porter, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Earl May, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Taylor, Drum, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1958 Fantasy, Inc.

DISC 2

1
You Leave Me Breathless (Rudy Van Gelder Remaster)
00:07:21

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Art Taylor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Frederick Hollander, ComposerLyricist - Ralph Freed, ComposerLyricist - Red Garland, Palmas, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Weinstock, Producer - Red Garland Trio, MainArtist

℗ 1957 Prestige Records, Inc./Original Jazz Classics

2
Bass Blues (Album Version)
00:07:45

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Paul Chambers, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Art Taylor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Red Garland, Palmas, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Weinstock, Producer - Red Garland Trio, MainArtist

℗ 1957 Prestige Records, Inc./Original Jazz Classics

3
Soft Lights And Sweet Music (Album Version)
00:04:40

Irving Berlin, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Art Taylor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Red Garland, Palmas, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Weinstock, Producer - Red Garland Trio, MainArtist

℗ 1957 Prestige Records, Inc./Original Jazz Classics

4
Traneing In (Rudy Van Gelder Remaster)
00:12:32

John Coltrane, Composer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Art Taylor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Red Garland, Palmas, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Weinstock, Producer - Red Garland Trio, MainArtist

℗ 1957 Prestige Records, Inc.

5
Slow Dance (Rudy Van Gelder Remaster)
00:05:25

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Art Taylor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Red Garland, Palmas, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Weinstock, Producer - Red Garland Trio, MainArtist - Alonzo Levister, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1957 Prestige Records, Inc./Original Jazz Classics

6
Lush Life (Album Version)
00:13:59

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Billy Strayhorn, ComposerLyricist - Paul Chambers, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Donald Byrd, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Louis Hayes, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1958 Fantasy, Inc.

7
The Believer (Album Version)
00:13:46

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Donald Byrd, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - McCoy Tyner, ComposerLyricist - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Louis Hayes, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Weinstock, Producer

℗ 1964 Prestige Records, Inc.

8
Nakatini Serenade (Album Version)
00:11:01

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Donald Byrd, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Louis Hayes, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Weinstock, Producer - Calvin Massey, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1964 Prestige Records, Inc.

DISC 3

1
Come Rain Or Come Shine
00:08:47

Harold Arlen, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Donald Byrd, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Louis Hayes, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - John H Mercer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1965 Prestige Records, Inc.

2
Lover (Album Version)
00:07:58

Richard Rodgers, ComposerLyricist - Lorenz Hart, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, MainArtist

℗ 1965 Prestige Records, Inc.

3
Russian Lullaby (Rudy Van Gelder Remaster)
00:05:36

Irving Berlin, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Rudy Van Gelder, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Chambers, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Taylor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1958 Prestige Records, Inc.

4
Theme For Ernie
00:05:00

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Fred Lacey, Composer - Arthur Taylor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1958 Prestige Records, Inc.

5
You Say You Care
00:06:17

Jule Styne, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Leo Robin, ComposerLyricist - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Taylor, Drum, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1958 Fantasy, Inc.

6
Good Bait (Rudy Van Gelder Remaster)
00:12:11

Count Basie, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Tadd Dameron, ComposerLyricist - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Taylor, Drum, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1958 Fantasy, Inc.

7
I Want To Talk About You
00:10:57

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Billy Eckstine, ComposerLyricist - Arthur Taylor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1958 Fantasy, Inc.

8
Rise 'N' Shine
00:07:17

YOUMANS, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Art Taylor, Drum, AssociatedPerformer - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Weinstock, Producer - Bud Desylva, ComposerLyricist - Arthur Taylor, Drum, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1961 Fantasy, Inc.

9
I See Your Face Before Me
00:09:56

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Art Taylor, Drum, AssociatedPerformer - Howard Dietz, ComposerLyricist - Arthur Schwartz, ComposerLyricist - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Weinstock, Producer - Arthur Taylor, Drum, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1961 Fantasy, Inc.

DISC 4

1
If There Is Someone Lovelier Than You
00:09:23

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Art Taylor, Drum, AssociatedPerformer - Howard Dietz, Author - Arthur Schwartz, Composer - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Weinstock, Producer - Arthur Taylor, Drum, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1961 Fantasy, Inc.

2
Little Melonae
00:14:07

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Art Taylor, Drum, AssociatedPerformer - Jackie McLean, ComposerLyricist - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Weinstock, Producer - Arthur Taylor, Drum, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1961 Fantasy, Inc.

3
By The Numbers (Album Version)
00:12:03

John Coltrane, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1965 Prestige Records, Inc.

4
Black Pearls (Album Version)
00:13:14

John Coltrane, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1964 Prestige Records, Inc.

5
Lover Come Back To Me
00:07:29

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Oscar Hammerstein II , ComposerLyricist - Sigmund Romberg, ComposerLyricist - Paul Chambers, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Donald Byrd, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Taylor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1959 Prestige Records, Inc.

6
Sweet Sapphire Blues (Album Version)
00:18:13

John Coltrane, MainArtist - Robert Weinstock, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1964 Prestige Records, Inc.

DISC 5

1
Spring Is Here (Album Version)
00:06:56

Richard Rodgers, ComposerLyricist - Lorenz Hart, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, MainArtist - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Weinstock, Producer

℗ 1962 Prestige Records, Inc.

2
Invitation (Album Version)
00:10:23

Paul Francis Webster, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Chambers, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Bronislaw Kaper, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Cobb, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Weinstock, Producer - Wilbur Harden, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1958 Fantasy, Inc.

3
I'm A Dreamer, Aren't We All (Album Version)
00:07:04

Ray Henderson, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, MainArtist - Lew Brown, ComposerLyricist - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Buddy DeSylva, ComposerLyricist - Bob Weinstock, Producer

℗ 1965 Prestige Records, Inc.

4
Love Thy Neighbor (Album Version)
00:09:25

Mack Gordon, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, MainArtist - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Harry Revel, ComposerLyricist - Bob Weinstock, Producer

℗ 1959 Fantasy, Inc.

5
Don't Take Your Love From Me (Album Version)
00:09:17

John Coltrane, MainArtist - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - HENRY NEMO, ComposerLyricist - Bob Weinstock, Producer

℗ 1962 Prestige Records, Inc.

6
Stardust (Album Version)
00:10:43

Mitchell Parish, ComposerLyricist - HOAGY CARMICHAEL, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, MainArtist - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Weinstock, Producer

℗ 1959 Fantasy, Inc.

7
My Ideal (Album Version)
00:07:36

John Coltrane, MainArtist - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Leo Robin, Composer - Newell Chase, Composer - Richard A. Whiting, Composer - Bob Weinstock, Producer

℗ 1965 Prestige Records, Inc.

8
I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)
00:08:09

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Chambers, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Jimmy Cobb, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Weinstock, Producer - Wilbur Harden, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1958 Prestige Records, Inc.

DISC 6

1
Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful? (Album Version)
00:05:15

Richard Rodgers, Composer - John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Oscar Hammerstein II , Author - Paul Chambers, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Art Taylor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Freddie Hubbard, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Esmond Edwards, Producer

℗ 1964 Prestige Records, Inc.

2
Then I'll Be Tired Of You (Album Version)
00:09:30

John Coltrane, MainArtist - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Arthur Schwartz, ComposerLyricist - E.Y. HARBURG, ComposerLyricist - Esmond Edwards, Producer

℗ 1959 Fantasy, Inc.

3
Something I Dreamed Last Night (Album Version)
00:10:52

John Coltrane, MainArtist - Herbert Magidson, ComposerLyricist - Sammy Fain, Composer - Jack Yellen, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1965 Prestige Records, Inc.

4
Bahia
00:06:17

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Chambers, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Red Garland, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Ary Barosso, ComposerLyricist - Arthur Taylor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1959 Prestige Records, Inc.

5
Goldsboro Express (Album Version)
00:04:46

John Coltrane, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1965 Prestige Records, Inc.

6
Time After Time (Album Version)
00:07:44

Jule Styne, ComposerLyricist - Sammy Cahn, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, MainArtist - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Esmond Edwards, Producer

℗ 1959 Fantasy, Inc.

Album Description

In the spring of 1957, when he signed with Bob Weinstock's Prestige Records, John Coltrane was still a relative newcomer to the national jazz scene. He wasn't, at age 30, a youngster by any means, and he had already been playing professionally for more than a dozen years, but most of that had been as a sideman and he was known primarily to insiders. Most recently, since 1955, he'd worked for Miles Davis, who had first recognized Coltrane's potential in the late '40s. Coltrane's blowing with Davis' quintet was often brilliant, sometimes spotty, promising overall, but the saxophonist's heroin habit was getting the better of him and Davis cut him loose a number of times before finally disbanding the group in 1957. Weinstock was well familiar with Coltrane's growing reputation and had used him as a sideman at the label. When he gave him a contract as a leader, he could not have known, of course, that he was setting off one of the most monumentally influential careers jazz would ever know. At Prestige, Coltrane, now cleaned up from drugs, was ridiculously prolific, taking part in some 27 sessions in all during 1957 and 1958, the entirety of which, 125 tracks, can be heard on the 16-disc box set The Prestige Recordings. This six-disc set seems almost minimal in comparison, eschewing Coltrane's sideman work at Prestige to concentrate on his role as frontman. But by focusing on Coltrane as an increasingly creative, at times explosive, groundbreaking force, this "compact" set is, in its own way, the more potent of the two. And Fearless Leader is an appropriate title: Coltrane was by nature unafraid to take chances, eager to dare himself and his musicians to go places jazz had yet to travel. He wasn't quite up to running speed yet at Prestige, but he was well on his way to figuring out that the possibilities were boundless. While some of the Prestige recordings might seem almost tame and mainstream in comparison to the music Coltrane would later cut for Atlantic and Impulse!, that's really only in retrospect: seen in the context of its time, the sessions that Coltrane cut at Prestige -- released originally on such albums as Coltrane, Traneing In, The Believer, Soultrane, and the stunning ballads/standards set Lush Life, on which Coltrane plays it relatively straight, displaying a debt to Charlie Parker that would dissipate as he proceeded to probe worlds Bird never dreamed of -- raised the bar higher than it had ever been at the time. As Fearless Leader is arranged by session and does not attempt to replicate the original albums' running orders, however, those earlier contexts cease to exist and listeners are left to experience the music as Coltrane -- working at Prestige mainly with such peers as pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, drummers Art Taylor and Louis Hayes, and trumpeters Donald Byrd and Freddie Hubbard -- cut it, chronologically. Whatever tentativeness he was still feeling early in the relationship slowly gives way, and by the end of Coltrane's tenure at the label, his signature aggressive probing is in full swing, notably on tracks such as "Bahia" and "Goldsboro Express," from his December 1958 session, and a breakneck "Lover Come Back to Me" from earlier that year. Although he was still capable of playing it straight and unadorned -- his blues and romantic ballads are uniformly moving and elegantly laid out -- and Coltrane's Prestige era was a transitional one to be sure, Fearless Leader makes clear that the roots of his genius were already firmly planted.
© Jeff Tamarkin /TiVo

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