Only low-quality bootlegs have previously brought aficionados this full-strength, full-fury recording from the last year (1965) of the classic Coltrane Quartet. That's Coltrane/Tyner/Garrison/Jones, and this NYC recording at the Half Note was recently transferred from Coltrane's personal master tapes-they finally get the fidelity they deserve: Afro Blue; My Favorite Things ; the title song (featuring what many regard as one of Trane's greatest recorded improvs), and more!
Having recharged his legendary status on 2005's spectacular Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane: At Carnegie Hall
, a previously unheard "lost" recording from 1957, the late John Coltrane solidifies his refreshed standing with a new generation of jazz fans with this exciting discovery by his own quartet. Recorded in 1965 at New York's Half Note club, One Down, One Up
isn't as stunning a find as the Monk album. Its recorded sound, taken from a radio broadcast, is pretty raw and, whereas the Monk album represents a rare meeting of these giants, there are other live albums from the mid-'60s by the Coltrane four. None, however, are as good as this one, which finds the tenor and soprano saxophonist making magnificent mountains out of modal molehills through his relentless surrounding and reshaping of notes, never coming up for air. You don't listen to epic performances like the 28-minute title track, 23-minute rendition of "My Favorite Things" (his bread and butter tune) and 20-minute "Song of Praise" so much as immerse yourself in them. You simply need to experience them for their rising intensity and spiritual weight, for their earthy beauty, for the band's locking gears: pianist McCoy Tyner's ferocious hammered notes, drummer Elvin Jones' whirlwind figures, bassist Jimmy Garrison's eloquent lines. Thriving on melody, which he would abandon in the sonically assault live final phase of his sadly shortened career, Coltrane keeps listeners in the palm of his hand even as he pushes into unchartered territory. --Lloyd Sachs