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Fearless Leader [6 CD] Box set, Original recording remastered

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, Original recording remastered, September 26, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In celebration of John Coltrane's 80th birthday, Concord Music Group is now proud to present Fearless Leader, a special 6-CD boxed set focusing on his Prestige Records output as a band leader (1957-1958). This is the FIRST-EVER COMPREHENSIVE BOXED SET focusing on John Coltrane's Prestige Records output as a band leader. This BEAUTIFUL 6-CD boxed set is adorned with RARE PHOTOGRAPHS of John Coltrane as well as an EXTENSIVE 64-PAGE BOOKLET featuring COMPLETE ANNOTATED DISCOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION and liner notes by noted music historians RICHARD S. GINELL and LEWIS PORTER. Also features ORIGINAL SESSION NOTES and fully reproduced ORIGINAL ALBUM ARTWORK. Features noted sidemen RED GARLAND, PAUL CHAMBERS, DONALD BYRD, JIMMY COBB, FREDDIE HUBBARD and ART TAYLOR. 24-BIT REMASTERING from the Original Analog Master Tapes.


Younger fans may think John Coltrane can't possibly have recorded everything on this six-box Prestige collection in only a year and a half--the first session being in May 1957, the last in December 1958. These days, even the most prolific artists are lucky if they get to record once a year. But these chronologically ordered standards and bop-school exercises, a good chunk of which was released years after the fact, flowed at a time when albums were only beginning to become artful Albums and spending time in the studio was how artists developed. Recorded during the same period as Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane: Live at Carnegie Hall, one of a pair of 2005 discoveries that repolished Coltrane's legend, the music has its inconsistencies and misfires. In the company of such players as pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, trumpeters Wilbur Harden and Freddie Hubbard and drummer Arthur Taylor, Coltrane was still working out his own sound on tenor saxophone--the revolutionary chord progressions of "Giant Steps" and incantatory preachings of "A Love Supreme" were still to come. But even the subpar performances are lifted by his remarkable streams of invention, sustained urgency and surpassing blend of power and beauty. The settings are mostly straight-ahead quartets and quintets, but there are also memorable trio performances such as "Trane's Slo Blues" and an invigorating sextet with baritone saxophonist Sahib Shihab. Marking what would have been Coltrane's 80th birthday, Fearless Leader is the first of three planned box sets to document his Prestige recordings, on which he also was featured as a sideman and all-star group stalwart. For those who care, the packaging and liner coverage is subpar. --Lloyd Sachs

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Straight Street
  2. While My Lady Sleeps
  3. Chronic Blues
  4. Bakai
  5. Violets for Your Furs
  6. Time Was
  7. I Hear a Rhapsody
  8. Trane's Slo Blues
  9. Slowtrane
  10. Like Someone in Love
  11. I Love You

Disc: 2

  1. You Leave Me Breathless
  2. Bass Blues
  3. Soft Lights and Sweet Music
  4. Traneing In
  5. Slow Dance
  6. Lush Life
  7. The Believer
  8. Nakatini Serenade

Disc: 3

  1. Come Rain or Come Shine
  2. Lover
  3. Russian Lullaby
  4. Theme for Ernie
  5. You Say You Care
  6. Good Bait
  7. I Want to Talk About You
  8. Rise 'N Shine
  9. I See Your Face Before Me

Disc: 4

  1. If There Is Someone Lovelier Than You
  2. Little Melonae
  3. By the Numbers
  4. Black Pearls
  5. Lover Come Back to Me
  6. Sweet Sapphire Blues

Disc: 5

  1. Spring Is Here
  2. Invitation
  3. I'm a Dreamer, Aren't We All
  4. Love Thy Neighbor
  5. Don't Take Your Love from Me
  6. Stardust
  7. My Ideal
  8. I'll Get By

Disc: 6

  1. Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?
  2. Then I'll Be Tired of You
  3. Something I Dreamed Last Night
  4. Bahia
  5. Goldsboro Express
  6. Time After Time

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 26, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Prestige
  • ASIN: B000H30CBM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,982 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Bauer on October 7, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This set is fantastic on a variety of levels.

1. Performances: While some call Coltrane's Prestige albums "emergent" or "formative", keep in mind that he was already thirty years old, had recently kicked heroin and alcohol, and was finishing his definitive work with Thelonious Monk when he began these sessions. While the settings are more traditional, he was covering a ton of new ground at this point. Volumes have been written about this music, so I won't go on and on. Suffice it to say that there is a lot of fantastic jazz to be found in these Prestige sessions.

2. Sound: Rudy Van Gelder is legendary for a reason. His recording techniques were superb, and benefit greatly from the new 24 bit mastering in this set.

3. Packaging: As the other reviewer noted, there must have been a typo in the Amazon reviewer's use of the term "subpar". The six CDs are packaged in a beautiful box, an extremely informative booklet includes excellent analysis by Lewis Porter, autor of the definitive Coltrane biography "John Coltrane, His Life and Music", and concludes the cover art and original liner notes from each of the albums represented in this box.

4. Value: Earlier CD versions of all 11 original albums included in this box are still available individually, often at prices of $11.95 a piece or higher. That's $132 for older versions lacking the 24 bit mastering and excellent booklet.... makes the decision easy when Amazon's price for the box is $53.99, and some Amazon partners have it even cheaper.

All in all, this is not one to pass up.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
John Coltrane is one of the most revered figures in jazz. Almost forty years after his death at the age of 40, his legacy transcends the genre and continues to grow. As a result his discography as both a leader and sideman has been scrutinized and commercialized like few others except for perhaps Miles Davis and Charlie Parker.

The recently released six-CD set "Fearless Leader" on Prestige, gathers nine sessions recorded between May 31, 1957 and December 26, 1958. From these sessions the label fashioned a total of eleven LPs, including his first as a leader, the aptly titled "Coltrane."

The saxophonist's tenure at Prestige was also the subject of a recently discontinued 16-CD set that included everything except his work with Miles Davis' quintet. Whereas that set was clearly geared towards the completist, "Fearless Leader" is sure to have a much broader appeal, not just from a price standpoint. The benefit of a narrower scope enables the set to paint a much more concise, almost linear portrait of Coltrane's first phase of artistic and instrumental development.

Presenting the tunes in chronological order, the programming of the original LPs is sacrificed. However, the accompanying 60-page booklet includes photos of the original LP art and essays about each. It also cross-references the discs and tracks so that listeners can replicate the original LP sequences.

Comprised of ballads, blues, and the post-bop which defined the era, Coltrane's instrumental ferocity which ultimately manifested itself in his "sheets of sound" style moves to the fore. Cast in group settings that range from a pianoless trio to sextet, roughly half of the tunes find Coltrane at the helm of a quintet with a trumpet sharing duty on the front-line.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Can someone tell me if the six CD Fearless Leader boxed set is partially or completely replicated in The Prestige Recordings of John Coltane. I do not need two presentations of the exact same material.

Also are the CDs in the Prestige Recordings of JC remastered by Rudy Van Gelder as they are in Fearless Leader?

With the reissue revolution it's hard for the buyer to keep track of things. Any help will be appreciated.

REVISED: Since asking the above questions regarding replication I've purchased Fearless Leader and done some more research on the Prestige boxed set. So here are the answers for those that may find them helpful.

1. All of the songs in the boxed set, Fearless Leader, are replicated in Prestige Recordings. The big difference is the remastering. Fearless Leader's complete 11 original disc content with Coltrane as leader are remastered using the RVG (Ruy Van Gelder) process. The credits for remastering state Joe Tarantino of Fantasy doing the remastering.

As far as I can tell the original transfers by Joe Tarantino are what is offered with the Prestige renderings. Simply put, the Prestige set is just a reissue collection of original transfers that have already been offered at various times in the past. Nothing new in terms of sonics or remastering. The big plus with the Prestige set is that it includes most everything ever recorded by Coltrane for the Prestige label (SideSteps may be the exception).

2. While some may disagree, the RVG process in my opinion produces far superior sonics relative to the original Prestige CD releases. This is especially noticeable if you have a good stereo playback system.
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