The Bebop Shop : New York Is Now: Ornette and Free Jazz : John Coltrane: The Live Recordings
There are so many things to be considered in making music, John Coltrane told an interviewer during his first European tour as a bandleader in the autumn of 1961. Many things on which I don't think I've reached a final conclusion. Indeed, the music Coltrane made on this trip took audiences to the very cutting edge, leaving many questions unanswered, even for the saxophonist s most ardent fans. The impact of Coltrane and his regular quartet sidemen pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Elvin Jones was made doubly controversial by the leaders last-minute decision to add the formidable multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy, a musician whom Coltrane regarded as a true kindred spirit but whose introduction to European audiences was to prove equally divisive.
Playing over 30 concert appearances in under three weeks, the band criss-crossed the continent from France to Finland, taking its message to far larger crowds than could be squeezed into its club sets back in the US. While the critics thumbed their thesauruses in a vain attempt to describe the overwhelming spectacle of the Coltrane band in full flight, several of the groups gigs were being captured for posterity, taped by various local radio stations and private collectors. These recordings have since acquired almost legendary status and have previously only been available in sporadic fashion, but for the first time ever, this new Acrobat release collates tapes made by the quintet in Paris, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm, creating a truly sundering anthology of this short-lived band at its peak.
Newly remastered for optimum sound quality, along with examples of Coltrane's landmark compositions Naima and Impressions, this collection also includes the saxophonists only recording of Victor Young's theme Delilah' and, as a bonus, a stunning rare second house performance of Coltrane's transformational anthem My Favourite Things taped in Stockholm. The booklet features photographs, concert memorabilia and press clippings, and comes complete with an extensive essay by award-winning British saxophonist and writer Simon Spillett. (Acrobat Music) Price: £19.99
The Newport tracks feature: McCoy Tyner on piano, Reggie Workman and Art Davis on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums - Live at Newport, Rhode Island, July 1, 1961. Bonus Tracks: Same personnel except Eric Dolphy (as, fl) added and Art Davis omitted. Kulttuuritalo, Helsinki, November 22, 1961. (Discovery Records) Price: £11.99
A BEBOP SHOP MILESTONE- An essential recording for your jazz CD shelf Price: £9.99
These are all absorbing versions, with incredible improvisation and interplay, in which the musicians seem fully immersed. There are three tour de force tracks around or over the 20 minute mark. Roland Kirk was also in town and after the concert the two saxophonists went to Copenhagen's famous Café Montmartre to play during a well remembered (but unfortunately not recorded) jam session, backed by Kirk's band. Coltrane's playing is risky and adventurous, as always. To quote the great man: "Whenever I make a change, I'm a little worried that it may puzzle people. And sometimes I deliberately delay things for this reason. But after a while I find there is nothing else I can do but go ahead". (Discovery Records) Price: £17.99
The importance of these influential performances has grown throughout the years as musicians especially saxophone players passed around bootleg and lo-fi copies taken from the 1965 radio broadcast. It was a time when Coltrane was pushing his musical boundaries, and one can hear the evolution of his style on these recordings. As his son Ravi Coltrane says, You can hear everything that came before and begin to hear where the music was going.
The music captured on One Down, One Up: Live At The Half Note features the songs One Down, One Up (perhaps the highlight of the collection), Afro Blue, Song of Praise, and My Favorite Things. The unparalleled performances showcase a band filled with fiery passion and a master at the crossroads of his musical path.
One Down, One Up: Live At The Half Note features liner notes from journalist and author Ashley Kahn who wrote A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltranes Signature Album as well as the upcoming The House That Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records. Also included is an essay by the CDs producer, Ravi Coltrane. (Verve Music Group)
Coltrane was too ill to perform at the Newport Festival the following year, and he died shortly after at the age of 40 on July 17, 1967. He had played at Newport in 1958, 1961, 1963 & 1965. (Discovery Records) Price: £11.99
Offering, available in a deluxe format 2-CD digi-pak, incorporates a look that is contiguous with the graphic identity of Impulse! Records, Coltranes exclusive label from 1961 until the end of his life. This is the first officially sanctioned release of an undiscovered, complete Coltrane performance since 2005. It captures Coltrane in exemplary form, navigating the language he had developed during the last phase of his musical path with passion and pellucid logic.
Operating at equivalent levels of invention and energy are three members of his working quintet of one years standing his wife, Alice Coltrane, on piano; Pharoah Sanders on reeds and flute; and Rashied Ali on drums.
Offering is emblematic of the efflorescent energies and radical ideas that Coltrane himself had much to do with bringing forth during the seven years after 1960, when he left the employ of Miles Davis to pursue his vision as a leader. There are versions of Coltranes 1960 hits Naima and My Favorite Things, a transformational reworking of the 1964 ballad Crescent, a spirit-raising rendering of Leo, which he had recorded on several previous occasions during 1966, and the hymnal Offering, which he would record on a February 15, 1967 studio session that Impulse! would release during the 90s as Spiritual Offering.
On Offering, Resonance Records achieves the highest possible audio quality, using direct transfers of original master reels from a location recording by Temples WRTI-FM, remastered at 96kHz/24 bit, that were tracked down by Coltrane scholar Yasuhiro Fujioka. (Proper Note) Price: £23.99
Deluxe double 180g vinyl set.