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Coltrane Plays the Blues [Extra tracks]

John ColtraneAudio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, Extra tracks, 1990 $13.99  
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Audio Cassette, 1990 --  

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Extra tracks
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B000002I5E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,796 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Blues To Elvin
2. Blues To Bechet
3. Blues To You
4. Mr. Day
5. Mr. Syms
6. Mr. Knight
7. Untitled Origional (Bonus Track For CD Only)

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blues elevated to the sublime June 3, 2001
Format:Audio CD
This session was hastily put together, recorded on the same day as another album, but in retrospect it turned out to be a visionary idea. How would one of the leading experimenters of the time tackle the very roots of the music, its most fundamental form? After listening to Coltrane Plays the Blues, no one could credibly accuse the form of being monotonous, infertile or banal.
In a tribute to Sidney Bechet, "Blues to Bechet", Coltrane plays the soprano saxophone alone with bass and drums, fusing blues and Middle Eastern idioms together in passionate, incantatory figures that dance like eddies in a mountain stream. "Mr. Syms" also features Coltrane on soprano, but here he merely states the theme, opening up the central solo space to McCoy Tyner, who delivers an exquisite blues, swinging with all the majesty of a great and profound tradition.
In a time when both jazz and Coltrane himself were undergoing a period of turbulent self-analysis, this record serves as a refreshing reminder of the illuminating simplicity of the central architecture of jazz: the blues. Ironically, but perhaps fittingly, the critic Ralph J. Gleason wrote in the original liner notes to Coltrane's Sound that "this music is an extraordinary example of the complex beauty of this most complex age".
That Coltrane was able to record two albums in the same day that masterfully captured the polar opposites of simplicity and complexity without contradiction is testament to his genius.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars October 1960... June 29, 2004
Format:Audio CD
October 1960 was one of those prolific times during Trane's career where in a short period he was able to turn out album after album of classic music in an extremely brief span. My Favorite Things, Coltrane's Sound, and Coltrane Plays the Blues, all cornerstones of jazz's period of transition of the early 60's were recorded in one month.
This unbelievable actuality brings me to the review of perhaps my favorite out of all of the 3. In the liner notes of Plays the Blues, Joe Goldberg describes a typical club date for Trane during this time. He states that when appearing at a club, the last set of the evening typically is devoted to the blues. Today it is hard for the majority of jazz listeners to imagine or even fathom seeing Trane at the Vanguard, the Half Note, or Birdland, but by putting Plays the Blues and closing your eyes, this album may be closest we can get to imagining a smoky club in the 60's at midnight, when the real fans come out to see Trane play the blues. The album itself is separated into two somewhat-relating halves. Blues for Elvin kicks the first half with a slow blues featuring the full quartet of the time (the classic quartet, save for Steve Davis instead of Jimmy Garrison), Trane builds a lovely, soulful solo with gorgeous accompaniment from McCoy. The next two tracks feature the trio of Elvin and Steve Davis, Blues for Bechet has Trane on soprano and Blues to You, my favorite track on the album has one of the finest solos on the blues I have ever heard.
The second half is tracks evoking other feelings of the blues. Mr. Day and Mr. Knight are much more modal examples of the blues and the best writing on the album as well as McCoy's best playing. These tunes should be considered a stepping point as to the direction of his music from then on.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top-notch coltrane May 19, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This album is right up there amongst Coltrane's best. All six original tunes are fantastic, and like most coltrane albums, this one has varying levels of complexity so that it provides just as much pleasure after months of listening as it does the first time. Recorded around the same time as, and in a class with "My favorite things".
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The blues is a large universe January 21, 2007
By G B
Format:Audio CD
John Coltrane has a reputation as a fearless pusher at the boundaries of jazz, but he was also one of the great blues players in jazz. Hence it's not surprising that he released an entire album of blues compositions. In lesser hands, this could have turned into an exercise in monotony; but the six compositions on Coltrane Plays the Blues are wildly diverse, keeping things exciting the whole way through. He plays tenor sax on four tunes and his then-new soprano on two. McCoy Tyner sits out on a few tracks, leaving a piano-less trio of Coltrane, Steve Davis and Elvin Jones. "Blues to Elvin" is more traditional, and very "down home". "Blues to You" is the most avant-garde performance, a barebones trio performance that clearly anticipates "Chasin' the Trane" (from the 1961 Village Vanguard engagement). "Mr. Knight" has a theme similar to "India" (also from the Vanguard) though it doesn't maintain the same one-chord drone.

Overall this is a fantastic album. Any fan of Coltrane's other Atlantic albums should pick it up. This was one of three albums Coltrane recorded with his new quartet in October 1960 -- get all of them. (The other two were My Favorite Things and Coltrane's Sound.)
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coltrane Takes Blues Further Out On Classic 1960 Set October 18, 2000
Format:Audio CD
In his liner notes to "Coltrane Plays The Blues," Joe Goldberg concludes that " of the most restless experimenters in jazz has far from exhausted the possibilities of the music's oldest form." Indeed, this quartet (drummer Elvin Jones, pianist Mc Coy Tyner, bassist Steve Davis) pushed the music ever further with their seismic "Giant Steps" and "My Favorite Things."
Recorded 40 years ago this month (in one day-long session!), "Blues" is yet another jewel in Coltrane's Atlantic Records crown. It is a traditional, earthbound return in name only; Coltrane the composer and his quartet borrow from spiritually-charged Indian and Middle Eastern styles influencing their early work, and from then-former labelmate Ray Charles' Latin-flavored R&B jazz with Mongo Santamaria and David Newman.
With the stinging solos on "Blues To Bechet" and "Blues To You," (which Greenberg describes as "strictly contemporary Coltrane") the master brings intensity and experimentation to a form known for sparsity and grit. Tyner (who stars in the set's "Untitled Original" not in blues style), Davis and especially Jones form a blues box where Coltrane flutters (through eight minutes of "Mr. Day") or slyly waits to crash through on "Mr. Knight" (seeming to interrupt a percussive Tyner/Jones musical conversation with soft, more than tonal screeches). Coltrane would take the music progressive light years from this blues base in his last years, but would never show the concentration or innately swinging feel he does here.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
muy bueno
Published 2 months ago by Carlos E.
5.0 out of 5 stars Does it get better than Coltrane?
It sounds like warm butter. Heaven. Great album. When it shuffles on, you can just feel the shift. It's a wonderful recording.
Published 3 months ago by Kurtis Simmons
5.0 out of 5 stars John Coltrane- Coltrane Plays the Blues
Coltrane Plays the Blues is one of my favorite recordings by the master saxophonist. Coltrane was in a comfort zone anytime he was playing the blues as he shows throughout this... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Lil Rook
4.0 out of 5 stars God, I love this album.
I'm not sure why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5, except that Coltrane takes some getting used to. No problems with shipping. Read more
Published 9 months ago by marty
3.0 out of 5 stars Coltrane plays the blues
If I was given the option of listening to the samples prior to purchase, I would not have purchased this CD.
Published 12 months ago by hammonds50
5.0 out of 5 stars The Blues and Coltrane
Anyone who loves Coltrane and loves the blues will love this music. It begs the question, what wonders would he have created had he lived a longer life? Read more
Published 16 months ago by Diana Loring
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE THAT SOPRANO SAX
Coltrane plays the soprano & tenor sax, & as usual, he does it brilliantly. The soprano is difficult to keep in tune, so kudos to him. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Jerlaw
4.0 out of 5 stars The music is Coltrane at his best, recording problematical
I love all of the songs on his plays the blues album. This is one of the lp's that sold me on Coltrane forever. His playing is so intense. Read more
Published on July 9, 2012 by L. Topper
5.0 out of 5 stars All Blue
Trane first became noticed when he played with the Miles Davis Quintets of the 50s. Later on he went all crazy after "Giant Steps" & what one critic called his "sheet of sound. Read more
Published on April 26, 2012 by Jerlaw
3.0 out of 5 stars That was some three days...
Here is yet another record Atlantic culled from the same three days' worth of sessions which yielded My Favorite Things. Read more
Published on October 14, 2011 by Lawrence Peryer
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