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Jazz - Released January 1, 1964 | Impulse!

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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 January 1, 2013 | Impulse!

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Rhino Atlantic

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Jazz - Released September 18, 2020 | Rhino Atlantic

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In the 60 years since John Coltrane's Giant Steps was released, the album has (justifiably) taken its place in the pantheon of classic albums. However, upon its release in early 1960, it was just the Atlantic Records debut of a hotshot saxophonist who had made a name for himself with Miles and Monk and recorded a few albums as a leader (and countless albums as a sideman) on Prestige. He was widely recognized as a technical talent, capable of dazzling and dizzying solos, but his compositional skills had only been showcased properly on one album: the (less justifiably) classic Blue Train, which was released in 1958 and was more clearly related to the hard bop of the day. Now, with a multi-year contract with Atlantic in hand, Coltrane was able to focus his label debut on his own material, positioning himself as a mature, confident, and singular artist, rather than as a gunslinger-for-hire. Everything on Giant Steps is a Coltrane composition, with a deep focus on harmony, phrasing, and melody. The album is intensely inventive from a structural standpoint—it's here that the "Giant Steps" chord progression (a.k.a. "the Coltrane Changes") makes its debut, as does the soon-to-be Coltrane standard "Naima," the themes of which would make their way into some of his most experimental and free-flowing future concerts. There's also plenty of blues ("Cousin Mary"), bouncing blasts of joyful lightness ("Syeeda's Song Flute"), and improvisational pyrotechnics ("Mr. P.C."), and the album swings so hard and is so emotionally evocative, it's easy for a listener to overlook just how epochal it was. This is the album that—along with Kind of Blue a year earlier—effectively closed the door on bebop. Coltrane's compositional approach here opened the door to his probing, analytical take on spiritual improvisation over the next few years. Of course, thanks to the luxury of having two days in the studio—far longer than a typical blowing session—he was able to get it right, resulting in a perfect album ... as well as several reels of outtakes. A raft of those appear on this 60th anniversary "Super Deluxe” edition—eight alternate takes and 20 additional outtakes (many of which are previously unreleased) flesh out this collection. Few of them provide much insight or improvement on the album versions and the inclusion of an alternate take of the Coltrane Jazz track "Like Sonny" (recorded contemporaneously with "Naima" on a different date than the rest of Giant Steps) is a bit of a stretch. This latest remastering, while spacious and alive, doesn't improve substantially upon Bill Inglot's 1998 remaster; in fact, one could argue that the 2014 mono remaster is an even more rewarding listening experience. But having a few "definitive" versions of a classic album—one that has been continuously in print and remastered/reissued/updated several times since its original release—is not a bad problem to have. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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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 July 1, 1964 | Impulse!

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Jazz - Released September 19, 2000 | Rhino Atlantic

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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 February 1, 1966 | Impulse!

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Impulse!

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Jazz - Released August 9, 2014 | Rhino Atlantic

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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 January 1, 2007 | 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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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 January 1, 1963 | Impulse!

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Jazz - Released January 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
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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, 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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Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Rhino Atlantic

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 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