Released shortly after the groundbreaking Giant Steps, Coltrane Jazz features a number of takes from the 'Naima' session, with Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb, as well as a track with Cedar Walton and Lex Humphries and an early outing by his newly formed quartet featuring pianist McCoy Tyner, Steve Davis and Elvin Jones. While lacking the conceptual strength of many of Coltrane's greatest works, Coltrane Jazz captures the saxophonist during one of his interesting periods of change, and includes some memorable original tunes. Particularly worth investigating are 'Harmonique', an unusual theme involving polyphonics (more than one note played simultaneously), and a beautiful ballad performance of 'I'll Wait And Pray'.
Having explored all sorts of country cousins of the blues, John Coltrane evokes the spirit of mother Africa and Moorish Spain on this, his final Atlantic recording. Fellow crusaders McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones are joined by Reggie Workman as well as fellow bass virtuoso Art Davis, while Trane's new front-line collaborator Eric Dolphy and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard give him an immense sonic canvas upon which to reinvent jazz. OLE COLTRANE extends the forms, anticipating the freedom and far reaching spiritual pilgrimages of the Impulse! years.
As John Coltrane moved from music rich in chordal complexity to a newer, freer form of modality–in which melodic and rhythmic freedom came to the fore–some critics couldn't make the imaginative leap. But no one could ever question Coltrane's superb musicianship. This all-star session isn't merely an aesthetic bone to these critics, but a superb example of two masters blowing relaxed and free over a tight, intuitive rhythm section. There's Jackson's Modern Jazz Quartet collaborator Connie Kay on drums, master of understated swing; the elegant, eternally tasteful Hank Jones on piano; and Mr. P.C., Paul Chambers, one of the fathers of modern bass playing.
From the opening tour de force reading of Coleman Hawkins' "Bean and the Boys" to the closing performance of Charlie Parker's "Dexterity," Magnificent brilliantly illustrates Barry Harris' unique rapport with the bop piano tradition. Absolutely unlike the enervating, curatorial approach of the neo-con movement, Harris deals with the tradition as a continuum, perpetually rejuvenating and extending it. Along with the opening and closing tracks, the classics on this 1969 date include a caressing exploration of "These Foolish Things" and a dazzling treatment of "Ah-Leu-Cha."
Hold Your Fire is an album in the purest sense; infinitely greater than the sum of its parts, it gradually draws in the listener by slowly revealing its nuances and secrets. While the use of keyboards is still overwhelming at times, Geddy Lee employs lush textures which, when coupled with a greater rhythmic and melodic presence from guitarist Alex Lifeson, results in a far warmer sound than in recent efforts. Of course, drummer Neil Peart is as inventive and exciting as ever, while his lyrics focus on the various elements (earth, air, water, fire) for much of the album.
Like much of the band's '80s output, Power Windows finds Rush juggling their hard-rock heritage with new technology to mixed results. With Alex Lifeson choosing sparse, horn-like guitar bursts over actual crunch, Geddy Lee's synthesizers running rampant, and Neil Peart's crisp, clinical percussion and stark lyrical themes (evoking cold urban landscapes), the result just may be the trio's "coldest" album ever.
After an extensive search for a producer, Rush struck gold with Peter Henderson. The band shared production duties with him, and completed the album within a few months. The continuous use of synthesizers and keyboards that began on the previous album, SIGNALS, is prominent here. Although Alex Lifeson's guitar always plays a key role, it's obvious the group could not shy away from the advancing technology in rock music in 1984.
Making the transition from the heavy-rocking '70s to the synthesizer-driven '80s, the power trio Rush embraced the new technology with open arms. After the 1981 smash album MOVING PICTURES, Rush decided to lead their cult of loyal fans down a slightly different musical route while continuing to maintain their high level of expertise. The result, SIGNALS, was a very unique album for the group and ushered in an era that focused their sound toward keyboard-centered orchestrations and tight, stylized arrangements.
Not only is 1981's Moving Pictures Rush's best album, it is undeniably one of the greatest hard rock albums of all time. The new wave meets hard rock approach of Permanent Waves is honed to perfection – all seven of the tracks are classics (four are still featured regularly in concert and on classic rock radio). While other hard rock bands at the time experimented unsuccessfully with other musical styles, Rush were one of the few to successfully cross over.
Falling somewhere in between heavy metal and AOR, Rush were one of the success stories of the period from 1976 to 1986–all the more surprising because few Canadians manage to break out from the land of the maple leaf in this area of music. Much of their following idolized Alex Lifeson, who was a guitar hero with the technical ability of a Page or a Beck. Occasionally Neil Peart's lyrics leave a little to be desired: "the shifting shafts of shining, weave the fabric of their dreams . . ." Jon Anderson from Yes was afflicted with the same condition of pretentiolyricitus. That aside, the music is faultless.