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Coltrane's Sound

4.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Coltrane's Sound (US Release)
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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Saxophonist John Coltrane was among the most important, and most controversial, figures in jazz. He influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant tenor saxophonists in jazz history. He received many awards, among them a posthumous Special Citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board in 2007 for his "masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz."
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B000002I5I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,612 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This album is like many Coltrane albums palpably in transition between styles. It follows on from the experiments with dense, irregularly moving chord changes of _Giant Steps_, and also contains a couple reharmonized standards, "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" and "Body and Soul", which have areas of sustained modal exploration in the manner of "My Favourite Things". The band is the first edition of the "classic" Coltrane band, with Steve Davis on bass before Jimmy Garrison hopped on board.
What's most unusual about this album, perhaps, is that it's actually Coltrane's meditation on the bop heritage. Only one tune is completely original, the lovely ballad "Central Park West" (one of my favourite Coltrane tracks; he only states the melody, leaving the improvisation to Tyner, but it's so rounded a statement that like Monk's "Crepuscule with Nellie" it doesn't really need elaboration at all). The other tunes rework standard bop fare via the techniques of movement in thirds and pedal notes that obsessed Coltrane in this period. "Liberia" is a version of "A Night in Tunisia"; "Equinox" is a minor blues but borrows its intro from Parker's intro to "Star Eyes"; "Satellite" is a reworking of "How High the Moon"/"Ornithology"; "26-2" (a rather mysterious title) is a version of "Confirmation". The practice was of course already there on _Giant Steps_ ("Giant Steps" and "Countdown" are themselves based on standards like "Tune Up") but the concentration of such material, & the tenor sax shibboleth "Body and Soul", suggest a rather more self-conscious exploration of the tradition.
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Format: Audio CD
First of all - ignore any reviewer who claims this is not a choice Coltrane selection. I recently purchased the Lewis Porter biography "John Coltrane: His Life and His Music" Porter is the reigning Coltrane expert, he was invited to write the booklets for the Prestige box sets. Porter's book is full of praise for this release and there is even lots of musical analysis of Trane's solos.

I LOVE this release. I've been listening to Trane for over 30 years and have all of the Prestige, all of the Atlantic and most of the Impulse releases. My collection spans from his first outing as a leader up to his "difficult" Meditations. I also have EVERYTHING he recorded with Miles. I know the man's music. I'm a musician myself. Any reviewer (and there are a couple out here) that claims this is half-baked material doesn't know their CM7 from a C7#9 chord. It is an important part of the Coltrane legacy and essential listening. Reading Lewis Porter's excellent biography of Trane I learned that much of the material on this release was in Trane's original quartets book from their very first gig at the Jazz Gallery when Steve Khun and Pete La Rocca were in the band. This isn't just some half-baked release that Atlantic threw together to cash in like some other reviewers have asserted.

This release was culled from the very same October 24 - 26 1960 sessions that brought us My Favorite Things and Coltrane Plays the Blues. That session was the very first recording session of Trane's mainstay quartet in the 60's (only Steve Davis was replaced). This release was not made public until 1964 - long after Trane had left Atlantic, but that is in no way a statement on the music found here. There is nothing unusual in that, labels always store up sides in the vault for later release.
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4 Comments 24 of 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
COLTRANE'S SOUND was John Coltrane's last album on Atlantic before the move to Impulse! that would inaugurate his experimental period. Recorded in October 1960 at the same sessions as for MY FAVORITE THINGS, it sees the saxophonist joined by Steve Davis on bass, Elvin Jones on drums and McCoy Tyner on piano. These are mostly Coltrane compositions with the exception of "The Night has a Thousand Eyes" and "Body and Soul".

The music here often feels centered around Coltrane's technique, his ability to play blazingly fast seemingly without any effort, as opposed to the sense of proportion and balance. That's especially true of the opening track and "Satellite". In that regard I think of it as an "early Coltrane" release as opposed to the following albums which I love so much. Nonetheless, Coltrane's great quartet was almost complete (soon Davis would be replaced by Jimmy Garrison) and the rapport between the musicians is stronger than ever before. "Central Park West" is a ballad that displays -- even better than the cuts on Coltrane's BALLADS album -- that the saxophonist was capable of slowing things down. "Liberia" has a fine sense of whimsy and humor to it that, for all their metaphysical revelations, is missing from the intense later albums. "Equinox" is the most exploratory of the tracks here, looking forward to the Impulse! years.

In building a Coltrane collection, I jumped from GIANT STEPS all the way to the Impulse! albums and was so in love with the latter that I long neglected to fill in the missing years. I'm happy I did. Among these albums, COLTRANE'S SOUND is a fine effort that shouldn't be overlooked, and I like that it shows the saxophonist reflecting on the mainstream jazz trends of the time before he went entirely his own way.
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