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Jazz - Released January 1, 2009 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
McCoy Tyner's fourth studio album has a split personality, with three tracks featuring an intriguing sextet of all-stars, and the rest with his trusty trio, done eight months apart. Perhaps the tracks with bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Albert Heath were leftovers from a prior incomplete or aborted full session, but anything Tyner played in this period was precious. The larger ensemble recordings present trumpeter Thad Jones as ostensible co-leader, composer of one selection, and lead soloist. Tenor saxophonist John Gilmore and alto saxophonist Frank Strozier join forces with Thad Jones to make what some might deem an unlikely front-line triad, but effective enough considering their established individualism. Bassist Butch Warren and drummer Elvin Jones support the six-piece band, the first and only appearance for Warren with Tyner while the pianist was still with John Coltrane. The jewel in this collection is Tyner's "Three Flowers," a keeper that his big bands played prolifically later in life. Here the sextet hits the modal 3/4 beat with a thinner harmony under the lithe, soaring, enduring, and beautiful melody line. The Thad Jones contribution "T 'N A Blues" is an easy, basic, and short 12-bar chart with a phenomenal solo from Gilmore, while "Contemporary Focus" is a down-the-Nile signature sound for the controlled modal power Tyner wields, with Thad Jones belting out his bopping solo. The trio tracks are standards done with hints of other songs to begin with. Tyner fools you into thinking he's taking off on "Impressions" when it's actually "A Night in Tunisia"; "Autumn Leaves" has an improvised modal starting point that is quite spontaneous; and the chiming, wanton ballad "When Sunny Gets Blue" drips with all the pure emotion that Tyner can wring out of a weepy piano. The musicianship is so strong that it's hard to deny the high quality of what is presented here. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1963 | Impulse!

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
Throughout John Coltrane's discography there are a handful of decisive and controversial albums that split his listening camp into factions. Generally, these occur in his later-period works such as Om and Ascension, which push into some pretty heady blowing. As a contrast, Ballads is often criticized as too easy and as too much of a compromise between Coltrane and Impulse! (the two had just entered into the first year of label representation). Seen as an answer to critics who found his work complicated with too many notes and too thin a concept, Ballads has even been accused of being a record that Coltrane didn't want to make. These conspiracy theories (and there are more) really just get in the way of enjoying a perfectly fine album of Coltrane doing what he always did -- exploring new avenues and modes in an inexhaustible search for personal and artistic enlightenment. With Ballads he looks into the warmer side of things, a path he would take with both Johnny Hartman (on John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman) and with Duke Ellington (on Duke Ellington and John Coltrane). Here he lays out for McCoy Tyner mostly, and the results positively shimmer at times. He's not aggressive, and he's not outwardly. Instead he's introspective and at times even predictable, but that is precisely Ballads' draw. © Sam Samuelson /TiVo

Jazz - Released November 17, 1998 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Here it is: eight CDs worth of John Coltrane's classic quartet, comprised of bassist Jimmy Garrison, pianist McCoy Tyner, and drummer Elvin Jones, recorded between December of 1961 and September of 1965 when the artist followed his restless vision and expanded the band before assembling an entirely new one before his death. What transpired over the course of the eight albums and supplementary material used elsewhere is nothing short of a complete transfiguration of one band into another one, from a band that followed the leader into places unknown to one that inspired him and pushed him further. All of this transpired in the span of only three years. The group that the saxophonist had assembled for Coltrane in 1962, a band that had been together a little while and had performed together at the Village Vanguard (the tracks that include the quartet without Eric Dolphy from Impressions are here, and, in fact, the first pieces on the set are from those session dates chronologically) in a variety of settings, is almost nothing like the band that made Kulu Se Mama in 1965. For a change, the oft-employed yet irritating chronological method of compiling a box makes sense here. McCoy Tyner's piano style, that rich open-ended modal chromaticism he developed was at work on "The Inchworm," astonishingly enough the first work recorded in the 1962 studio dates. "Out of This World" was one of the last from that session that would produce the album Coltrane. The blues element that would disappear from later records -- at least consciously -- was the driving force behind ballads like "Soul Eyes" and "After the Rain." But it isn't until the latter end of 1963 that we hear the band beginning to gel into the unit that would make A Love Supreme and create the tracks that would be assembled into First Meditations for Quartet. There are the two alternate takes of "Alabama," and the soprano solo that is positively danced around by the rhythm section on "Dear Old Stockholm." There is also the great schism in Coltrane, much that took place between the June 1964 session that produced "Crescent" (and its first version is on disc eight, which is full of supplementary and unreleased material) and the following December when A Love Supreme was recorded. Here is the hinges in the whole box, the questions that need to be resolved than that this box only begs more than answers: what happened to that tight conscripted modalism Coltrane had been working on in his official releases prior to that time period as many of them hold clues but never give away the entire picture. What the box does in its voluminous way is set the record straight that there was no retrenchment in pursuant releases to A Love Supreme. There were softer moments on record, but the material in the can was far more adventurous recorded at about the same time, such as the "Suite" or "Transition" or "Dusk Dawn." Disc eight is also a treat in that it contains seven "works in progress" from all periods in the quartet's history. It begins with the aforementioned version of "Crescent," which is appreciably different than the master take in Tyner's solo particularly. There's also an incomplete though steaming initial take of "Bessie's Blues." Perhaps the most beautiful thing on the final disc is the alternate take of part II of A Love Supreme's "Resolution," with its elongated obligato by Coltrane and Tyner's gorgeous tenths playing ostinato during the saxophone solo. There's an alternate of "Feelin' Good" that's no big deal, followed by breakdowns and alternate takes of both "Dear Lord" and "Living Space," both of which reveal the harmonic development of a scale as it becomes the architectural model for the rest of the composition and improvisation. There can be no arguing the value of the originally released recordings; whether they were issued during Coltrane's lifetime or after his death, they tell a story that millions of listeners formed their impressions by, true or false, and created a legacy that lives on. But there is also something to be said for setting the record straight, and the chronological approach that this set takes in no way desecrates the integrity of the original albums themselves -- unlike the Ornette Coleman box. Simply put, it is indispensable to those who need a deeper understanding of Coltrane's music and the development of his most influential period. The sound quality is fully remastered to 20-bit technology, and the package is unwieldy but beautiful and sturdy. It's a must. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1963 | Impulse!

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is one of the greatest achievements in orchestration by any composer in jazz history. Charles Mingus consciously designed the six-part ballet as his magnum opus, and -- implied in his famous inclusion of liner notes by his psychologist -- it's as much an examination of his own tortured psyche as it is a conceptual piece about love and struggle. It veers between so many emotions that it defies easy encapsulation; for that matter, it can be difficult just to assimilate in the first place. Yet the work soon reveals itself as a masterpiece of rich, multi-layered texture and swirling tonal colors, manipulated with a painter's attention to detail. There are a few stylistic reference points -- Ellington, the contemporary avant-garde, several flamenco guitar breaks -- but the totality is quite unlike what came before it. Mingus relies heavily on the timbral contrasts between expressively vocal-like muted brass, a rumbling mass of low voices (including tuba and baritone sax), and achingly lyrical upper woodwinds, highlighted by altoist Charlie Mariano. Within that framework, Mingus plays shifting rhythms, moaning dissonances, and multiple lines off one another in the most complex, interlaced fashion he'd ever attempted. Mingus was sometimes pigeonholed as a firebrand, but the personal exorcism of Black Saint deserves the reputation -- one needn't be able to follow the story line to hear the suffering, mourning, frustration, and caged fury pouring out of the music. The 11-piece group rehearsed the original score during a Village Vanguard engagement, where Mingus allowed the players to mold the music further; in the studio, however, his exacting perfectionism made The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady the first jazz album to rely on overdubbing technology. The result is one of the high-water marks for avant-garde jazz in the '60s and arguably Mingus' most brilliant moment. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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CDkr177.59

Jazz - Released January 1, 1988 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
Michael Brecker's second album as a leader is almost the equal of his first. Surprisingly, only one song ("Suspone") uses his working quintet of the period (which consists of guitarist Mike Stern, pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Jeff Andrews and drummer Adam Nussbaum) although those musicians also pop up on other selections with the likes of pianists Don Grolnick and Herbie Hancock, bassist Charlie Haden, drummer Jack DeJohnette and violinist Mark O'Connor. Brecker (on tenor and the EWI) is in superb form, really ripping into the eight pieces (mostly group originals). Recommended. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1972 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Recorded in 1972 with a core band of Leroy Jenkins, Cornell Dupree (!), Jimmy Garrison, and Charles McGhee, Shepp supplemented these proceedings in much the same way he did with the cast of Attica Blues, with gospel singers, big bands, quintets, sextets, and chamber orchestras, with guests that included Harold Mabern on piano, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie on drums, and Ron Carter on electric bass! Recorded during a period in which Shepp was reaching out of the jazz idiom to include all of what he perceived to be "trans-African" music at the time, there is gutbucket R&B here, as well as the sweetly soul gospel of "Rest Enough." The charts' arrangements are a combination of Ellington's more pastoral moods -- usually expressed in his suites -- and the more darkly complex modal stylings of George Russell. Unlike some of Shepp's dates from this period, the vocals do not detract from the mix employed here. This is an urban record that showcases Shepp's ability, at this time in his career, to literally take on any project, combine as many sources as he was permitted by his financial resources, and come up with something compelling, provocative, and soulful. All extremes are subsumed by the whole: The avant-garde free jazz of the period is covered in the large-ensemble playing, which is covered by the gospel and R&B stylings that are accented by the free jazz players. Shepp worked with many larger ensembles as a leader, but never did he achieve such a perfect balance as he did on The Cry of My People. Given that the remastered version -- with excellent liner notes, superb sound, and a gorgeous package -- is being issued during an election year in the United States, its poignancy and urgency couldn't be more timely © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Blues - Released June 1, 1966 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Given Hooker's unpredictable timing and piss-poor track record recording with bands, this 1965 one-off session for the jazz label Impulse! would be a recipe for disaster. But with Panama Francis on drums, Milt Hinton on bass, and Barry Galbraith on second guitar, the result is some of the best John Lee Hooker material with a band that you're likely to come across. The other musicians stay in the pocket, never overplaying or trying to get Hooker to make chord changes he has no intention of making. This record should be played for every artist who records with Hooker nowadays, as it's a textbook example of how exactly to back the old master. The most surreal moment occurs when William Wells blows some totally cool trombone on Hooker's version of Berry Gordy's "Money." If you run across this one in a pile of 500 other John Lee Hooker CDs, grab it; it's one of the good ones. © Cub Koda /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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HI-RESkr149.29
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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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CDkr220.29

Jazz - Released January 1, 1964 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
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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CDkr248.59

Jazz - Released January 1, 1964 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
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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HI-RESkr149.29
CDkr124.29

Jazz - Released January 1, 1963 | Impulse!

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
That Coleman Hawkins jumped on the jazz/bossa nova bandwagon craze initiated by Stan Getz in 1962 was a bit of a surprise to his fans, but that he was comfortable in the idiom should not be off-putting. Able to adapt to any style over his lengthy career, the legendary tenor saxophonist chose classic standards adapted to Brazilian rhythms, music from masters like Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto, and a Manny Albam original. Producer Bob Thiele and music director Albam were strong in their resolve directing Hawkins to do this project, and the results are fairly predictable, especially considering that every single track is played in midtempo. The difference is the deployment of two guitarists in Barry Galbraith (lead) and Howard Collins (rhythm) split into separate stereo channels, with bassist Major Holley and no full kit drummer, although Eddie Locke with a minimal and stripped-down setup, Willie Rodriguez, and even Tommy Flanagan play small Latin percussion instruments. Themes derived from nights in Rio such as the beautifully rendered title track and "One Note Samba" are quite typical, but "O Pato" (The Duck) has a component added on from Duke Ellington's "Take the 'A' Train," while the Hawkins original "Stumpy" is adapted into "Stumpy Bossa Nova," derived from Dizzy Gillespie's "Groovin' High" with a taste of "The Man I Love" tacked on at the end. Albam's "Samba Para Bean" is standardized cool with Locke's accents via brushes on closed hi-hat cymbals, while "I Remember You" is a completely unforced, pretty rendition of this well-worn standard. Gilberto's tribute to Luiz Bonfá, "Um Abraco No Bonfa," sports a guitar lead by Galbraith in a stretched-out frame. The curve ball is a somewhat weird crossbred samba take of "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover," a truly corny song the band tried to make cool, only marginally succeeding. The simplified style of this album overall perfectly suited the amiable, good-natured, and laid-back Hawkins at a time when the world was somewhat in political turmoil regarding Caribbean nations and the role of South America in the emerging so-called Third World. He passed away seven years later, leaving a legacy as the most revered tenor saxophonist in jazz, and this very nice recording in his long discography, unique even unto itself. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo