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Coltrane Plays the Blues Extra tracks
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Coltrane Plays The Blues
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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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great, hard to find CD. Great price. Recommended seller. Thank you.Published 13 months ago by Harley W.
It's Coltrane playing blues from a clearly Coltrane perspectivePublished 14 months ago by BandTeacher
Just as John Coltrane’s stay with Atlantic Records was about to come to an end,
he managed to put out another highly successful album for Atlantic in 1962 after he... Read more