Customer Reviews: Live in Seattle
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on February 28, 2000
I first heard this music in 1971 when I was 15 years old, in junior high school. It shook me then and it shakes me still. Coltrane blows with such ferocity, yet beauty you literally can't believe your ears. Pharoah leaves the planet. Not for the light-hearted. Get ready for the real trip. Free-jazz Coltrane style.
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on April 22, 2005
I've been a fan of Coltrane for a while now, slowly building up my library, I was warned of the wild later period so I began with his early stuff and continued in that way. I remember the first time I listened to A Love Supreme, I was speechless, it blew my mind! Then I listened to Live at Birdland, when Coltrane came in for his solo in Afro Blue I thought my heart was gonna stop! AHH. So once I listened to the Quartet albums for the thousandth time, I decided it was time to go forward. For some reason I picked Live in Seattle for my step into Coltrane's later formed world, I think it was because I loved Birdland so much I jumped at another Live album. When I first listened, I couldnt get through Cosmos, Though I liked Out of this World and some parts of others songs. So having trouble with the album I didnt listen to it for a while. Though I didnt go out and buy more albums right away, I started reading and knowing as much about Coltrane as I could. Being a musician, hes always been one of my musical idols, but then he became an idol on its own, I truely admired him for all he was worth, there is no like him! I started listened to Sun Ship and I dug it so I decided to try out Live in Seattle once again, and when Cosmos began, I felt like I was falling into a trance. I closed my eyes and my body swayed back and forth, I felt the music deeply in my heart and soul, when I got to Body and Soul I had tears in my eyes. I LOVE JOHN COLTRANE!
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on February 14, 2005
This is an experimental recording in all senses. Coltrane was in search of new sounds, probably helped not insignificantly by LSD. The old urban legend has it "Om" (recorded the day after this live record, I believe) was recorded on LSD, but this double disc is the more likely candidate.

Elvin Jones and Mccoy Tyner do an excellent job grounding this music. Despite leaving the band soon after they both excel in their modified idioms here. Tyner's solos are amazing, especially considering that he was making it up as he went along--i.e., how to push his piano into this new free jazz realm. Cecil Taylor was the only other free jazz model at the time and Tyner here stylistically sidesteps him, as on other late period Coltrane records, producing some amazingly virtuosic "free jazz" statements that are also conventionally musical.

Sanders and Garrett solo heavily on sax and bass clarinet, respectively. Garrett's quite savvy and fits well, though his musical career was not afterwards so illustrious. Sanders here hasn't developed his musical ideas much beyond screaming and alternating that with a kind of spooky melodic exploration. The Sanders of just a year later is much more sonically diverse and effective, but the core of his style is set. His solos are a bit thin here, but kudos to Coltrane for recognizing his talent and nurturing it.

Coltrane seems to be mostly listening and engaging in the several group improvisations, akin to "Ascension." Despite the long track lengths, Coltrane's solo presence is almost null. If you're buying the record just for Coltrane's saxophone, I'd look elsewhere.

Otherwise this is a great free jazz document. Somehow through their interplay the band creates uniquely frightening textures. While the sudden and hideous growling of "Om" from the possibly tripping-balls Coltrane on "Evolution" contributes to this mood, the band alone does a good, terrifying job by itself.
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VINE VOICEon August 13, 2006
Ha! and you grew up thinking Led Zeppelin was heavy.

I've finally figured out how to listen to later period Trane. The listener has to throw ALL preconceived notions about what is music out the window and just listen - sometime repeatedly. Our ears are not conditioned to find tension and release in this kind of music. The listeners have to be willing to recondition themselves in how things are heard and percieved, i.e, where to find the tension and release. The only way to do that is with repeated listenings. Indeed, after several listens to Om (that first struck me as pure noise) a beauty did emerge from what I initially perceived to be chaos.

There are still parts of this recording that actually scare me, the intensity is frightening. At times it sounds as if Trane is going to blow his tenor into a thousands pieces. There is a point in Evolution (which sounds very much like a motiff from Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps) where he begins to... growl and then scream into the microphone! I'm not kidding.

This is an awesome and intense set and can serve 2 functions in your collection:

1. Put it on when you want to listen to something that is intense and really out there.

2. Put it on when you have unwanted guests in the house. I promise you they will be running for the front door.
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VINE VOICEon May 30, 2014
This live recording laid hidden for 6 years before being released as a double album in 1971. It had four cuts from that night with the lengthy Evolution and Out of This World split over two sides. It wasn't until 1994 that the full concert was released on two CDs with the addition of Body and Soul and the rapturous Afro-Blue, resulting in over 2 hours of pure listening pleasure. For some odd reason when the CD was re-released in 2012, it was back to the original four songs on one disc.

It is a landmark album as it is one of the first live recordings to feature Coltrane in his newly adopted free jazz mode, with the stellar support of Pharoah Sanders. There are still the melodic phrasings opening up pieces, but Coltrane and Sanders quickly drift into cosmic flights with Donald Garrett adding double bass support to Jimmy Garrison. Tapestry in Sound features these two great bass players. Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner fill out the sextet, providing wonderful solos at key moments.

Coltrane had set a new tone the year before with A Love Supreme and would cross over entirely into free jazz in the following years. What makes this album special is that it is an excellent recording by Jan Kurtis. So good that Coltrane and company recorded Om in Jan's studio the next day after hearing the tapes. 1965 was a very busy year for Coltrane and I guess the recording got lost in the shuffle and wouldn't be released until after his death. Hunt for the 2CD set as you will want to hear the concert in its entirety.
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As summer 1965 turned to fall, John Coltrane's music was getting more and more avant gaurde. He had recorded Ascention, and was pushing the music further and further out. He was still using modes, but only as a starting point for free improvosation. By mid fall, the music was completely different. It could have been five years, not months, apart.

Live In Seattle captures this. To his classic quartet, he added Pharroh Sanders and a bass clarinet player named Donald Garret. The band jams furiously going way out of key, and sometimes playing in no key at all.

Interesting also is that, if you listen to Tranes studio work, each player gets a solo. Here, they play right on top of the other, feeding off the other. This can be noisy, but the interplay is fantastic and always pays off. This stuff is wild and wooly, but extremely pontent. Honestly, if it does not grab you, you are probably dead. The intensity level is as high as any recording I have ever listened to.

It is curious: when Impulse put this out on vinyl in the early 70s "Afro Blue' was not included on the double album. It is the least "out there" track on the set, "Cosmos," and "Evolution" being almost out and out glorious chaos. "Afro Blue" here shows you that Coletrane had not completely abandoned his past, and that his live shows-which sometimes went 3 or 4 hours--were more diverse than what was ever captured on vinyl.

Whatever the case, this is magic music, not to be missed.
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on March 9, 2012
By 1971, Pharoah Sanders had become a surprisingly popular performer, a movement starting with 69's mighty Karma. That record, and a few after it, helped spark a movement towards Alice Coltrane, himself, Archie Shepp, and others who'd abandoned the full-on "free jazz" for a funkier, more cosmically centered music that, while still using elements of free playing, found more generally appealing ways to keep listeners grooving in songs that went thirty minutes plus. Imagine, then, that a person who knows "Karma" but had never heard any late period Coltrane ran into this beauty, with Sanders' picture in a small box on the front and the tagline "featuring Pharoah Sanders" below Coltrane's name (the 1994 reissue does away with this, but the new 2012 issue has returned the original title). Looking at the product, thinking of the thirty-plus minutes of "The Creator has a Master Plan" and dropping the needle on the thirty six minute "Evolution", the Pharoah fan was in for a shock. This, after all, was the OLD Pharoah Sanders, the one who headed straight for the upper register of the saxophone and stayed in it. Quickly, "Live in Seattle" developed a reputation as unlistenable, which is really too bad, though a bit understandable.

There are two sides to this, and the listener has to make it past the opening tracks on both cds to get it all. To start with the most notorious, then, there is the behemoth "Evolution", which makes you feel every last second of its running time. This isn't a bad thing, but it's probably not the first thing you'll want to hear in the morning. Admittedly, it begins with an interesting collision of the three horns (Trane, Sanders, and Donald Rafael Garrett, who moved between bass clarinet and string bass) that then leads into a lyrical "head" that is abandoned just after it sticks into your head, not even to be returned to at the end of the piece. From there, the horns trade solos, building in intensity for over twenty minutes until Trane and Sanders break into, well, grunts. Perhaps this is the "evolution" of the title, the screaming, grunting, moaning sounds of these jazz guys echoing the dawn of man? Hey, weirder things happened on "Om" the next day, and anyway this finally is shattered by a fabulous McCoy Tyner solo, returning the song to something like a song before the horns shred away at it again. And really, this is not meant in an uncomplementary way - it's a harsh journey, but it's where Coltrane was at during this time, and it gives the listener a chance to sample how the other quartet members - Tyner, Elvin Jones, and Jimmy Garrison - adapt to the extreme changes Coltrane was making. Of course, listeners wanting a shorter version of the same song can simply drop the CD on the first song, "Cosmos", which again contains the lush lyrical head that is again promptly abandoned and a more manageable ten minute blast of free playing. What comes after that, though, is the surprise to anyone expecting one long trip down headache jazz road.

"Out of This World" keeps the band in a steady groove for over twenty four minutes, and surprisingly the horns tone it down. And yet, part of what makes this thing work is that it's not simply a continuation of the old '63 Classic Quartet sound: this thing moves in a whole new way, showing how the old modal forms still had some juice in them. What's more, the 94 edition (as well as the Japanese SHM version (Live in Seattle)from 2011 which has RADICALLY better sound in addition to all of the music) follows "World" with a similarly amazing version of "Body and Soul". Like the former, Trane is trying to reinvent his old catalog, but rather than simply shred the song after a brief beginning, he keeps something closer to the form of the original, with some real lyricism bubbling up in the fire that he and Sanders build up for the piece. It's a truly amazing work, and all Coltrane fans should have it. They should also have the thirty four minutes of "Afro Blue" (and in spite of the time the version is INCOMPLETE - the song fades out as the tape ran out in real life). This one opens with the old sound, but quickly sets that on fire, returning to the harsh shredding of some of the freer tracks. Amazingly, after the adrenaline rush of this begins to slow down, Tyner takes the song and delivers one of his finest-ever solos, filled with passion and pounding through the chords until Garrison and Garrett do a fantastic bass duet that builds to a very satisfying climax - amazing work, but again the new edition won't give you that, and it and "Body and Soul" are WELL worth whatever price difference.

Ultimately, this album will probably continue to alienate a certain base of fans, just as it did during this tour. For a country in love with "A Love Supreme" and still humming along to "My Favorite Things", this show showed that Coltrane was willing to take things a step further, and he never stepped back. That, again, isn't a bad thing, but this disc does provide the listener with a bit of transition: a bit of modal euphoria mixed with that molotov cocktail. It set the scene for the two studio recordings to come and for the exit of Jones and Tyner just three months later,but that's down the line. In the meantime, here's the opportunity to hear the quartet, with a couple of "friends", aim for uncharted territory and find it.
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on September 22, 2014
When I listened to this successful live recording that John Coltrane gave in Seattle,
Washington- USA, which came out in 1966, I found some of the performances to be
somewhat lost in translation and overblown. However, we do know that it's selected
as one of his best albums, I wasn't really turn on by it, so it was a good album, but it
didn't fit my music recreational merit.
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on August 15, 2013
The way that the interplay between these master jazz greats takes place is truly inspiring to me. Coltrane had a couple of extra players on this set. The areas that they delve into together are truly magical for me. At this stage of his career his muse was steering him to trust his feelings and let it rip. There is an unmatched purity and feeling of connection to the higher dimensions in these live recordings. This is a masterpiece. I'd like to give it a 4.5. The sound for a recording from 47 years ago is truly marvelous.
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on February 17, 2015
This is one of the most fantastic performances I've ever heard. The idea that it was done in 1957 is mind-blowing. I only wish people were making such passionate and truly special music today. Hint - if you like Taylor Swift this isn't for you.
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