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John Coltrane - The Very Best Of John Coltrane

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The Very Best Of John Coltrane

John Coltrane

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This isn't the first CD that has had the title The Very Best of John Coltrane, and one can safely assume that it won't be the last. The focus of this 74-minute collection is Coltrane's Impulse output -- specifically, modal post-bop that he recorded from 1961-1964. The disc doesn't get into the blistering atonal free jazz he embraced from 1965-1967, which is just as well because even though much of that material is brilliant, it isn't for everyone -- at least not novices and casual listeners who are exploring the saxophonist's work for the first time. And for those who need a dose of introductory Coltrane, this release generally favors the more essential recordings that he provided for Impulse. That includes "Acknowledgement," "Bessie's Blues," and "Crescent," as well as legendary encounters with Duke Ellington ("In a Sentimental Mood") and singer Johnny Hartman ("Lush Life"). Because Impulse didn't have access to Coltrane's famous Atlantic recordings of "My Favorite Things" and "Naima," they chose live versions from various Impulse releases -- both of which are excellent, but not essential. This CD would have been better off with "After the Rain," "Miles' Mode," or "India," none of which are included. Also questionable is Impulse's decision to include a previously unreleased 1962 studio performance of "Impressions," which should have been saved for a collection of rarities -- this is supposed to be a best-of, after all. But all things considered, The Very Best of John Coltrane can serve as a rewarding introduction to the saxman's Impulse period. While this 2001 release is hardly the last word on Coltrane's legacy, it is one of the CDs to start out with for novices.
© Alex Henderson /TiVo

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The Very Best Of John Coltrane

John Coltrane

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1
A Love Supreme, Pt. I – Acknowledgement (Album Version)
John Coltrane Quartet
00:07:47

John Coltrane, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Garrison, Upright Bass, AssociatedPerformer - McCoy Tyner, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Elvin Jones, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - George Douglas, Producer - Bob Thiele, Producer

℗ 1965 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
In A Sentimental Mood (Album Version)
Duke Ellington
00:04:16

Duke Ellington, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - John Coltrane, Producer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Elvin Jones, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Thiele, Producer - Aaron Bell, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1962 The Verve Music Group, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music GmbH, Austria

3
Bessie's Blues (Album Version)
McCoy Tyner
00:03:34

John Coltrane, Composer, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jimmy Garrison, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - McCoy Tyner, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Elvin Jones, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Thiele, Producer - John Coltrane Quartet, MainArtist

℗ 1964 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
Naima (Live (1961 Village Vanguard))
John Coltrane Quartet
00:07:07

John Coltrane, ComposerLyricist - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Thiele, Producer - John Coltrane Quartet, MainArtist

℗ 1997 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music Group International

5
Afro-Blue (Live At Birdland/1963)
John Coltrane
00:10:47

John Coltrane, Producer, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jimmy Garrison, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - McCoy Tyner, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Elvin Jones, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Thiele, Producer - Ramon Santamaria Rodriguez, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1963 The Verve Music Group, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
Lush Life
John Coltrane
00:05:28

John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Billy Strayhorn, ComposerLyricist - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jimmy Garrison, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Johnny Hartman, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - McCoy Tyner, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Elvin Jones, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Thiele, Producer

℗ 1963 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Crescent (Album Version)
McCoy Tyner
00:08:44

John Coltrane, Composer, Producer - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jimmy Garrison, Upright Bass, AssociatedPerformer - McCoy Tyner, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Elvin Jones, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Thiele, Producer - John Coltrane Quartet, MainArtist

℗ 1964 The Verve Music Group, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
Impressions
John Coltrane
00:04:35

John Coltrane, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Garrison, Upright Bass, AssociatedPerformer - McCoy Tyner, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Elvin Jones, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Thiele, Producer - Creed Taylor, Producer

℗ 2001 The Verve Music Group, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music Group International

9
Alabama (Live)
John Coltrane Quartet
00:05:09

John Coltrane, Producer, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jimmy Garrison, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - McCoy Tyner, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Elvin Jones, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Thiele, Producer

℗ 1963 Verve Label Group, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
My Favorite Things (Live At The Newport Jazz Festival/1963)
John Coltrane
00:17:16

Richard Rodgers, Composer - John Coltrane, MainArtist - Oscar Hammerstein II , Author - Rudy Van Gelder, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - George Douglas, Producer - Bob Thiele, Producer

℗ 1969 UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album Description

This isn't the first CD that has had the title The Very Best of John Coltrane, and one can safely assume that it won't be the last. The focus of this 74-minute collection is Coltrane's Impulse output -- specifically, modal post-bop that he recorded from 1961-1964. The disc doesn't get into the blistering atonal free jazz he embraced from 1965-1967, which is just as well because even though much of that material is brilliant, it isn't for everyone -- at least not novices and casual listeners who are exploring the saxophonist's work for the first time. And for those who need a dose of introductory Coltrane, this release generally favors the more essential recordings that he provided for Impulse. That includes "Acknowledgement," "Bessie's Blues," and "Crescent," as well as legendary encounters with Duke Ellington ("In a Sentimental Mood") and singer Johnny Hartman ("Lush Life"). Because Impulse didn't have access to Coltrane's famous Atlantic recordings of "My Favorite Things" and "Naima," they chose live versions from various Impulse releases -- both of which are excellent, but not essential. This CD would have been better off with "After the Rain," "Miles' Mode," or "India," none of which are included. Also questionable is Impulse's decision to include a previously unreleased 1962 studio performance of "Impressions," which should have been saved for a collection of rarities -- this is supposed to be a best-of, after all. But all things considered, The Very Best of John Coltrane can serve as a rewarding introduction to the saxman's Impulse period. While this 2001 release is hardly the last word on Coltrane's legacy, it is one of the CDs to start out with for novices.
© Alex Henderson /TiVo

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