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Jazz - Released February 1, 1965 | Impulse!

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
One of the most important records ever made, John Coltrane's A Love Supreme was his pinnacle studio outing, that at once compiled all of the innovations from his past, spoke to the current of deep spirituality that liberated him from addictions to drugs and alcohol, and glimpsed at the future innovations of his final two and a half years. Recorded over two days in December 1964, Trane's classic quartet--Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, and Jimmy Garrison-- stepped into the studio and created one of the most the most thought-provoking, concise, and technically pleasing albums of their bountiful relationship. From the undulatory (and classic) bassline at the intro to the last breathy notes, Trane is at the peak of his logical and emotionally varied soloing, while the rest of the group is completely atttuned to his spiritual vibe. Composed of four parts, each has a thematic progression. "Acknowledgement" is the awakening to a spiritual life from the darkness of the world; it trails off with the saxophonist chanting the suite's title. "Resolution" is an amazingly beautiful, somewhat turbulent segment. It portrays the dedication required for discovery on the path toward spiritual understanding. "Pursuance" searches deeply for that experience, while "Psalm" portrays that discovery and the realization of enlightenment with humility. Although sometimes aggressive and dissonant, this isn't Coltrane at his most furious or adventurous. His recordings following this period--studio and live-- become progressively untethered and extremely spirited. A Love Supreme not only attempts but realizes the ambitious undertaking of Coltrane's concept; his emotional, searching, sometimes prayerful journey is made abundantly clear. Clocking in at 33 minutes; A Love Supreme conveys much without overstatement. It is almost impossible to imagine any jazz collection without it. © Sam Samuelson and Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 1, 1965 | Impulse!

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
One of the most important records ever made, John Coltrane's A Love Supreme was his pinnacle studio outing, that at once compiled all of the innovations from his past, spoke to the current of deep spirituality that liberated him from addictions to drugs and alcohol, and glimpsed at the future innovations of his final two and a half years. Recorded over two days in December 1964, Trane's classic quartet--Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, and Jimmy Garrison-- stepped into the studio and created one of the most the most thought-provoking, concise, and technically pleasing albums of their bountiful relationship. From the undulatory (and classic) bassline at the intro to the last breathy notes, Trane is at the peak of his logical and emotionally varied soloing, while the rest of the group is completely atttuned to his spiritual vibe. Composed of four parts, each has a thematic progression. "Acknowledgement" is the awakening to a spiritual life from the darkness of the world; it trails off with the saxophonist chanting the suite's title. "Resolution" is an amazingly beautiful, somewhat turbulent segment. It portrays the dedication required for discovery on the path toward spiritual understanding. "Pursuance" searches deeply for that experience, while "Psalm" portrays that discovery and the realization of enlightenment with humility. Although sometimes aggressive and dissonant, this isn't Coltrane at his most furious or adventurous. His recordings following this period--studio and live-- become progressively untethered and extremely spirited. A Love Supreme not only attempts but realizes the ambitious undertaking of Coltrane's concept; his emotional, searching, sometimes prayerful journey is made abundantly clear. Clocking in at 33 minutes; A Love Supreme conveys much without overstatement. It is almost impossible to imagine any jazz collection without it. © Sam Samuelson and Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 1, 1960 | Rhino Atlantic

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History will undoubtedly enshrine this disc as a watershed the likes of which may never truly be appreciated. Giant Steps bore the double-edged sword of furthering the cause of the music as well as delivering it to an increasingly mainstream audience. Although this was John Coltrane's debut for Atlantic, he was concurrently performing and recording with Miles Davis. Within the space of less than three weeks, Coltrane would complete his work with Davis and company on another genre-defining disc, Kind of Blue, before commencing his efforts on this one. Coltrane (tenor sax) is flanked by essentially two different trios. Recording commenced in early May of 1959 with a pair of sessions that featured Tommy Flanagan (piano) and Art Taylor (drums), as well as Paul Chambers -- who was the only bandmember other than Coltrane to have performed on every date. When recording resumed in December of that year, Wynton Kelly (piano) and Jimmy Cobb (drums) were instated -- replicating the lineup featured on Kind of Blue, sans Miles Davis of course. At the heart of these recordings, however, is the laser-beam focus of Coltrane's tenor solos. All seven pieces issued on the original Giant Steps are likewise Coltrane compositions. He was, in essence, beginning to rewrite the jazz canon with material that would be centered on solos -- the 180-degree antithesis of the art form up to that point. These arrangements would create a place for the solo to become infinitely more compelling. This would culminate in a frenetic performance style that noted jazz journalist Ira Gitler accurately dubbed "sheets of sound." Coltrane's polytonal torrents extricate the amicable and otherwise cordial solos that had begun decaying the very exigency of the genre -- turning it into the equivalent of easy listening. He wastes no time as the disc's title track immediately indicates a progression from which there would be no looking back. Line upon line of highly cerebral improvisation snake between the melody and solos, practically fusing the two. The resolute intensity of "Countdown" does more to modernize jazz in 141 seconds than many artists do in their entire careers. Tellingly, the contrasting and ultimately pastoral "Naima" was the last tune to be recorded, and is the only track on the original long-player to feature the Kind of Blue quartet. What is lost in tempo is more than recouped in intrinsic melodic beauty. Both Giant Steps [Deluxe Edition] and the seven-disc Heavyweight Champion: The Complete Atlantic Recordings offer more comprehensive presentations of these sessions. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 1, 1964 | Impulse!

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John Coltrane's Crescent from the spring of 1964 is an epic album, showing his meditative side that would serve as a perfect prelude to his immortal work A Love Supreme. His finest quartet with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones supports the somewhat softer side of Coltrane, and while not completely in ballad style, the focus and accessible tone of this recording work wonders for anyone willing to sit back and let this music enrich and wash over you. While not quite at the "sheets of sound" unfettered music he would make before his passing in 1967, there are hints of this group stretching out in restrained dynamics, playing as lovely a progressive jazz as heard anywhere in any time period. The highlights come at the top with the reverent, ruminating, and free ballad "Crescent," with a patient Coltrane acquiescing to swinging, while the utterly beautiful "Wise One" is accented by the delicate and chime-like musings of Tyner with a deeply hued tenor from Coltrane unrushed even in a slight Latin rhythm. These are the ultimate spiritual songs, and ultimately two of the greatest in Coltrane's storied career. But "Bessie's Blues" and "Lonnie's Lament" are just as revered in the sense that they are covered by jazz musicians worldwide, the former a hard bop wonder with a classic short repeat chorus, the latter one of the most somber, sad jazz ballad reflections in a world full of injustice and unfairness -- the ultimate eulogy. Garrison and especially Jones are put through their emotional paces, but on the finale "The Drum Thing," the African-like tom-tom sounds extracted by Jones with Coltrane's sighing tenor, followed by some truly amazing case study-frantic snare drumming, makes it one to be revisited. In the liner notes, a quote from Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka states John Coltrane was "daringly human," and no better example of this quality transferred to musical endeavor is available than on this definitive, must have album that encompasses all that he was and eventually would become. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1966 | Impulse!

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Ascension is the single recording that placed John Coltrane firmly into the avant-garde. Whereas, prior to 1965, Coltrane could be heard playing in an avant vein with stretched-out solos, atonality, and a seemingly free design to the beat, Ascension throws most rules right out the window with complete freedom from the groove and strikingly abrasive sheets of horn interplay. Recorded with three tenors (Trane, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp), two altos (Marion Brown, John Tchicai), two trumpet players (Freddie Hubbard, Dewey Johnson), two bassists (Art Davis, Jimmy Garrison), the lone McCoy Tyner on piano, and Elvin Jones on the drums, this large group is both relentless and soulful simultaneously. While there are segments where the ensemble plays discordant and abrasive skronks, these are usually segues into intriguing blues-based solos from each member. The comparison that is immediately realized is Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz of five years previous. However, it should be known that Ascension certainly carries its own weight, and in a strange sense makes Coleman's foray a passive adventure -- mostly due to an updated sonic quality (à la Bob Thiele) and also Trane's greater sense of passionate spiritualism. Timed at around 40 minutes, this can be a difficult listen at first, but with a patient ear and an appreciation for the finer things in life, the reward is a greater understanding of the personal path that the artist was on at that particular time in his development. Coltrane was always on an unceasing mission for personal expansion through the mouthpiece of his horn, but by the time of this recording he had begun to reach the level of "elder statesman" and to find other voices (Shepp, Sanders, and Marion Brown) to propel and expand his sounds and emotions. Therefore, Ascension reflects more of an event rather than just a jazz record and should be sought out by either experienced jazz appreciators or other open-minded listeners, but not by unsuspecting bystanders. © Sam Samuelson /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1961 | Impulse!

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John Coltrane's debut for the Impulse label was a bit unusual, for the great tenor and his quartet were joined by a medium-sized backup group on Eric Dolphy arrangements of "Africa," "Greensleeves," and "Blues Minor." "Africa" in particular is quite memorable although Coltrane would not pursue any further recordings in this direction in the future, making this a change of pace in his discography. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 27, 2019 | Impulse!

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A little more than a year after the release of Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (a studio session from March 1963), the label Impulse! has released a new unpublished recording by John Coltrane. Recorded on June 24, 1964 (between the Crescent and A Love Supreme sessions) with his faithful colleagues Jimmy Garrison (double bass), Elvin Jones (drums) and McCoy Tyner (piano), Blue World is not an album like his others. In fact, it is music for film. Canadian director Gilles Groulx, a friend of Garrison, commissioned Trane’s Quartet to illustrate his next feature film, The Cat in the Bag. And the saxophonist obliged without warning his label. At the end of the short session, Groulx left for Quebec with the record under his arm but only used a few minutes in the final cut.55 years later, the whole session has resurfaced and we discover a truly inspired Coltrane, intertwining highly spiritual sequences with dazzling punctuations. The saxophonist was in a period of letting go of complex, superimposed harmonies. Later on in his career he even abandoned Western harmonies. Here, Coltrane is in the midst of a transition and the cohesion between the four musicians is stunning throughout. Blue World offers new takes of pieces that were recorded for his 1960 albums: his hit Naima which carried the album Giant Steps, as well as Village Blues and Like Sonny, two pieces found on his record Coltrane Jazz. Despite not being as essential as Crescent and A Love Supreme, Blue World remains a superb document concocted by a quartet unfortunately unable to provide anecdotal information. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1966 | Verve Reissues

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Ascension is the single recording that placed John Coltrane firmly into the avant-garde. Whereas, prior to 1965, Coltrane could be heard playing in an avant vein with stretched-out solos, atonality, and a seemingly free design to the beat, Ascension throws most rules right out the window with complete freedom from the groove and strikingly abrasive sheets of horn interplay. Recorded with three tenors (Trane, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp), two altos (Marion Brown, John Tchicai), two trumpet players (Freddie Hubbard, Dewey Johnson), two bassists (Art Davis, Jimmy Garrison), the lone McCoy Tyner on piano, and Elvin Jones on the drums, this large group is both relentless and soulful simultaneously. While there are segments where the ensemble plays discordant and abrasive skronks, these are usually segues into intriguing blues-based solos from each member. The comparison that is immediately realized is Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz of five years previous. However, it should be known that Ascension certainly carries its own weight, and in a strange sense makes Coleman's foray a passive adventure -- mostly due to an updated sonic quality (à la Bob Thiele) and also Trane's greater sense of passionate spiritualism. Timed at around 40 minutes, this can be a difficult listen at first, but with a patient ear and an appreciation for the finer things in life, the reward is a greater understanding of the personal path that the artist was on at that particular time in his development. Coltrane was always on an unceasing mission for personal expansion through the mouthpiece of his horn, but by the time of this recording he had begun to reach the level of "elder statesman" and to find other voices (Shepp, Sanders, and Marion Brown) to propel and expand his sounds and emotions. Therefore, Ascension reflects more of an event rather than just a jazz record and should be sought out by either experienced jazz appreciators or other open-minded listeners, but not by unsuspecting bystanders. © Sam Samuelson /TiVo
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Jazz - Released November 13, 2020 | Cuneiform Records

Booklet
A Love Supreme is rightly considered the ultimate achievement of John Coltrane's late work. It has been performed whole or in part by countless players, though usually just its first movement. Drummer John Hanrahan and guitarist Henry Kaiser have long histories with this music. Kaiser's dates to 1965 when he heard A Love Supreme as a 16-year-old college freshman. Hanrahan's dates to a lengthy 2003 interview with Coltrane drummer Elvin Jones and Ashley Khan's book length treatise on the original sessions. Though he's performed it across the country with an acoustic quartet, in 2017, he approached Kaiser about an electric version. The guitarist introduced him to Meditations as Coltrane's intended sequel, and they assembled various bands to perform both suites live over several years. The other players -- saxophonist Vinny Golia, organist Wayne Peet, and bassist Mike Watt --brought their own experiences as they worked live in studio, recording both suites in one day in February of 2019. While this record is wildly exploratory, the source material is never eclipsed by excess or ego. This quintet approaches the work kaleidoscopically, investigating from a variety of musical angles. Kaiser's approach is informed by his studies of Indian raga, and a decades long decoding of Miles Davis's electric music on five Yo Miles! albums with Wadada Leo Smith. Hanrahan's and Peet's inspirations are spiritual and psychological; each performance adds depth and dimension to their liinner lives and and musical vocations. Golia's incantatory tenor introduces "Acknowledgement"'s as the band opens a frame around him. Later, Golia solos are free, though retain the modal melody as a central tenet. Kaiser, Peet, and Watt embellish, fill, and accent before engaging in lengthy solos atop a dynamic group dialogue driven by Hanrahan. Watt introduces "Resolution" solo, before Kaiser's distorted squall opens a door for Peet, who, with Hanrahan and Golia swing like mad through vanguard postbop. Peet's swirling organ acts as an engine for the collective modal improvisation in "Pursuance." Meditations' "The Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost" theme presents Golia's tstaement of it at once as a grounding centerpiece and the lift off point for focused group improv. "Consequences" offers abstract interplay as the hub for cohesive group conversation and aural mapmaking. A Love Supreme's "Acknowledgement" is reprised as a set closer with the entire band playing the vamp. It simmers and flows as Golia articulates its melody on tenor before switching to soprano in his solo as Peet adorns and underscores his lines with shimmering chords. Hanrahan guides the flow largely by feel; his empathy and receptivity inspires Kaiser to usher in a gripping intensity that shapeshifts interactions dynamically and texturally over nearly 13 sublime minutes. A Love Supreme Electric is not an endgame for these players. It is the next evolutionary chapter in a developing investigation that expands on the already important musical primacy, spiritual depth, and cultural resonance in these works. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 1, 1974 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Not released for the first time until 1974 but now available in expanded form as a CD, this set of duets by tenor saxophonist John Coltrane and drummer Rashied Ali are full of fire, emotion and constant abstract invention. The original four pieces ("Mars," "Venus," "Jupiter" and "Saturn") are joined by "Leo" and "Jupiter Variation." Coltrane alternates quiet moments with sections of great intensity, showing off his phenominal technique and ability to improvise without the need for chordal instruments. Rousing if somewhat inaccessible music. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 19, 2000 | Rhino Atlantic

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2011 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This single-disc Concert in Japan by John Coltrane's 1966 quintet is a reissue of the original double LP that was released as IMR 9036C in 1973. Its three selections include two long instrumental pieces and a spoken introduction of the musicians in Japanese. These performances are compiled from two Tokyo dates. This set is not to be confused with the four-disc document that includes both Tokyo concerts in their entirety. The band here performs a 25-minute "Peace on Earth," a ballad that Coltrane wrote especially for the tour, to express his empathy and sympathy for the nuclear destruction Japan experienced during WWII. The tune moves outside, but stays well within the realm of spiritual boundary-pushing that the band was easily capable of. Alice Coltrane's piano (she is introduced as "Alice McLeod" by the announcer at the beginning of the recording) is utterly lovely and keeps both Coltrane's and Pharoah Sanders' (who plays an alto on this tune) solos in check. Drummer Rashied Ali and bassist Jimmy Garrison show an almost symbiotic interplay. The longer piece is a medley of "Meditations" and "Leo," and it begins as intensely and fiercely as it does on the album of the same name. Lasting nearly 45 minutes, the piece is a free-for-all with both horn players shoving one another to the limits of improvisation with their chosen instruments, and on percussion. Alice's piano phrasings are less percussive that McCoy Tyner's were, but they are equally far-reaching in timbre, color, and texture. She, Ali, and Garrison manage to just barely tether this group to the earth. The remastering job comes directly from analog tapes, so the sound is warm, rich, and full. No Coltrane fan -- who doesn't possess the box anyway -- should be without this fine recording. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Om

Jazz - Released January 1, 2011 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Condemned by many critics as John Coltrane's worst album, Om suffers only in comparison to the great works that preceded it. Also issued in 1965, Ascension had stunned the jazz world with the blunt force of its innovation -- a swirling maelstrom of noise, it was an answer to the challenge that had been posed by Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz several years earlier. For all the sonic assault that Pharoah Sanders and Coltrane mustered up on Ascension, however, it contained some surprisingly clear solos and had the feel of a well-thought-out interplay between all of the musicians on the date, including classic quartet members Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison, and McCoy Tyner. Om, in contrast, seems more like a pure release of energy. Expressions of sanity and organization by the rhythm section seem detached from the wall of sound that Sanders and Coltrane have erected. The best moments come when Coltrane breaks away from Sanders for solos -- echoes of Love Supreme can be heard in the repetitive, circular themes. Regardless of its seeming chaos, this is a deeply spiritual work, and can be seen as a darker, more unhinged version of the invocations heard on that album. Indeed, Om resonates with passion and yearning, but has a frantic edge that suggests that opening up to all of that powerful spiritual energy might have been a frightening experience. The music isn't perfect, as the thematic flow sometimes seems a bit segmented, and talented members of the band are relegated a little too far to the background (like McCoy Tyner, who nevertheless has a beautiful short solo around 13:30). Regardless, Om doesn't deserve the dismissal it has been given by critics. It is an important work in the history of free jazz that opens up considerably by the end of its 29 minutes, revealing the expansive contents of a jazz master's mind. © Stacia Proefrock /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 9, 2014 | Rhino Atlantic

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1965 | Impulse!

This LP contains five excellent performances by the John Coltrane Quartet from two occasions when drummer Roy Haynes filled in for Elvin Jones. A definitive "Dear Old Stockholm" and Coltrane's mournful ballad "After the Rain" are from April 29, 1963 while the beautiful "Dear Lord" and two long and raging performances ("One Down, One Up" and "After the Crescent") date from May 26, 1965. Although Haynes had a different approach on the drums than Jones, he fit in perfectly with the group, stimulating Coltrane to play brilliantly throughout these two sessions. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2011 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Recorded at two sessions in early 1967, Expression represents John Coltrane's final recording sessions just months before his death. A varied and searching record, Coltrane shares space with fellow universal travelers Pharoah Sanders, Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali, and wife Alice Coltrane. This band, working hard during the time leading up to Coltrane's demise, was performing in the most spiritually reaching territory Coltrane would aspire to. This is evidenced by the burning tenor/drum duet section of "Offering," perhaps the highlight of these sessions. Coltrane and Ali spiral into the far reaches here with a boundless energy that somehow remains controlled and restrained even in its rawest moments. The group succeeds in lifting the piece up to its highest peak and then setting it back down in a way so organic it feels almost ordained by a mass mind. The track, like all Coltrane at his best, becomes a guided meditation. The 16-minute vamp of "To Be" is perhaps the most quizzical and interesting piece here, finding Trane on flute, an instrument that he never gave much air time to on previous sessions. Coltrane trades gentle, lilting runs with Sanders' sometimes distant, sometimes atonal piccolo flute, stretching out into discordant waters somewhere in the middle of this lingering piece. Bedded by Alice Coltrane's brightly mystical piano clouds, the track would sound more at home on one of her solo albums than her husband's, but denotes their mingling inspirations. At the time these sessions were put to tape, Coltrane had been silently suffering from undiagnosed liver cancer for some while. His death was a shock to many in the jazz community who had no idea he was even sick, let alone nearing the end. It's remarkable that Expression is not some world-weary harbinger of death and sickness, but an endlessly jubilant affair. Even in what must have been a time of tremendous pain and darkness, Coltrane's single-minded quest for understanding and transcendence took him to places of new exploration and light. [Some issues of Expression include final track "Number One," a nearly 12-minute surge of raw, rolling interplay between Coltrane's tenor and Sanders' upper-register woodwinds.] © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1963 | Impulse!

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Impressions is a hodgepodge of memorable John Coltrane performances from the 1961-1963 period. "India" and "Impressions" are taken from Trane's famous November 1961 engagement at the Village Vanguard; bass clarinetist Eric Dolphy is heard on the former while the latter features a marathon solo from Coltrane on tenor. Also included on this set are 1962's "Up 'Gainst the Wall" and the classic of the album, 1963's "After the Rain." [This edition of Impressions includes the ten-plus-minute bonus track "Dear Old Stockholm."] © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 15, 1967 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This is a major set, "new" music from John Coltrane that was recorded February 15, 1967 (five months before his death) but not released for the first time until 1995. One of several "lost" sessions that were stored by Alice Coltrane for decades, only one selection ("Offering" which was on Expression) among the eight numbers and three alternates was ever out before. The music, although well worth releasing, offers no real hints as to what Coltrane might have been playing had he lived into the 1970s. The performances by the quartet (the saxophonist joined by pianist Alice Coltrane, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Rashied Ali) are briefer (from two and a half to five-plus minutes) than Coltrane's recordings of the previous year, but that might have been due to the fact that this music was played in the studio (as opposed to the marathon live blowouts with Pharoah Sanders) or to Coltrane's worsening health. Actually Trane is as powerful as usual, showing no compromise in his intense flights, and indulging in sound explorations that are as free (but with purpose) as any he had ever done. Coltrane's true fans will want to go out of their way to acquire this intriguing CD. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2012 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Recorded in June of 1965 and released posthumously in 1970, Transition acts as a neat perforation mark between Coltrane's classic quartet and the cosmic explorations that would follow until Trane's passing in 1967. Recorded seven months after the standard-setting A Love Supreme, Transition's first half bears much in common with that groundbreaking set. Spiritually reaching and burningly intense, the quartet is playing at full steam, but still shy of the total free exploration that would follow mere months later on records like Sun Ship and the mystical atonal darkness that came in the fall of that same year with Om. McCoy Tyner's gloriously roaming piano chord clusters add depth and counterpoint to Coltrane's ferocious lyrical runs on the five-part suite that makes up the album's second half. In particular on "Peace and After," Tyner matches Trane's range of expression. The angelically floating "Dear Lord," a meditative pause in the album's center, holds true to the straddling of the line between modes of thinking and playing that define Transition, not quite as staid as the balladry of Trane's earlier hard bop days, but nowhere near the lucid dreaming that followed. Only nearing the end of "Vigil" does the quartet hint at the fury of complete freedom it would achieve later in the year on Sun Ship, or even more, provide a precursory look at terrain Coltrane would explore in duets with drummer Rashied Ali on Interstellar Space in 1967. [The omission of "Dear Lord” on some issues is replaced with the similarly subtle "Welcome" and still other issues include bonus album closer "Vigil"] © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 1, 1964 | Impulse!

Distinctions Elu par Citizen Jazz - The Qobuz Standard
John Coltrane's Crescent from the spring of 1964 is an epic album, showing his meditative side that would serve as a perfect prelude to his immortal work A Love Supreme. His finest quartet with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones supports the somewhat softer side of Coltrane, and while not completely in ballad style, the focus and accessible tone of this recording work wonders for anyone willing to sit back and let this music enrich and wash over you. While not quite at the "sheets of sound" unfettered music he would make before his passing in 1967, there are hints of this group stretching out in restrained dynamics, playing as lovely a progressive jazz as heard anywhere in any time period. The highlights come at the top with the reverent, ruminating, and free ballad "Crescent," with a patient Coltrane acquiescing to swinging, while the utterly beautiful "Wise One" is accented by the delicate and chime-like musings of Tyner with a deeply hued tenor from Coltrane unrushed even in a slight Latin rhythm. These are the ultimate spiritual songs, and ultimately two of the greatest in Coltrane's storied career. But "Bessie's Blues" and "Lonnie's Lament" are just as revered in the sense that they are covered by jazz musicians worldwide, the former a hard bop wonder with a classic short repeat chorus, the latter one of the most somber, sad jazz ballad reflections in a world full of injustice and unfairness -- the ultimate eulogy. Garrison and especially Jones are put through their emotional paces, but on the finale "The Drum Thing," the African-like tom-tom sounds extracted by Jones with Coltrane's sighing tenor, followed by some truly amazing case study-frantic snare drumming, makes it one to be revisited. In the liner notes, a quote from Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka states John Coltrane was "daringly human," and no better example of this quality transferred to musical endeavor is available than on this definitive, must have album that encompasses all that he was and eventually would become. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo