Interplay, Prestige Records' new 5-CD set, containing early collaborative recordings of the peerless tenor saxophonist and visionary John Coltrane, serves two distinct purposes. The first is to offer an extraordinary collection of music that provides an excellent overview of the modern jazz scene during the fertile 1956-1958 period. The other - and arguably more important purpose to the legions of Coltrane faithful - is its rich delineation of the evolutionary process behind one of the most profoundly important and emotionally compelling artists this planet has ever seen.
In its ongoing series of reissues under the Double Time Jazz Collection moniker, Eagle Eye Media has put together two tribute shows on one DVD that demonstrate how a conception that is reverent yet forward-thinking can work wonderfully in one instance, and somewhat less-so in another. Tribute to John Coltrane: Live Under the Sky is an almost relentless, take-no-prisoners homage to Coltrane that works because it tries to take his music to a new place that is nevertheless respectful of its roots. Tribute to Bill Evans: Live at the Brewhouse is less successful because, while the musicianship is uniformly excellent, the lineage to Evans is less direct.
An extension of the popular Original Jazz Classics series (est. 1982), the new OJC Remasters releases reveal the sonic benefits of 24-bit remastering-a technology that didn't exist when these titles were originally issued on compact disc. The addition of newly-written liner notes further enhances the illuminating quality of the OJC Remasters reissues. "Each of the recordings in this series is an all-time jazz classic," says Nick Phillips, Vice President of Jazz and Catalog A&R at Concord Music Group and producer of the series.
The fifth and final volume in Universal's massive John Coltrane: The Impulse! Albums in the Originals series, contains five recordings, all issued posthumously between 1970 and 1973. Two of these, Transition and Sun Ship, feature Coltrane's classic quartet with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones. Of the remaining albums, two are live recordings – Live in Seattle and Concert in Japan – the remaining one being the infamous Infinity.
Packaged together in this five-disc box set from Verve/Hip-O-Select, these titles represent the albums Impulse issued following John Coltrane's death in 1967, and remain some of the most controversial in his catalog (numerous critics thought – and many still do – that dubious choices were made in assembling them).
John Coltrane (1926-67) was the most relentlessly exploratory musician in jazz history. He was always searching, seeking to take his music further in what he quite consciously viewed as a spiritual quest. In terms of public recognition, this quest began relatively late. The tenor saxophonist, a native of North Carolina who later moved to Philadelphia, was 28 when he joined the Miles Davis quintet in 1955, after years of paying dues in the big band and combo of Dizzy Gillespie (where he played alto before switching to tenor) and as a supporting player behind saxophonists Johnny Hodges, Eddie "Cleanhead” Vinson, and Earl Bostic. Coltrane’s anguished tone and multi-noted, rhythmically complex solos with Davis quickly elevated him to the front ranks of jazz…
Recorded in one day (August 23, 1957) at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in Hackensack, NJ. This date of ballads and burners features the young tenor saxophonist John Coltrane leading a quartet comprised of pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Arthur Taylor. Liner notewriter (original and reissue) Ira Gitler remarks, “In the ‘50s I was called upon to name many of the untitled songs at Prestige. Traneing In came to me because of the way [Coltrane] homed in after Garland’s opening solo [on the song].” This album is significant in that it took place halfway through Coltrane’s break with Miles Davis’ classic quintet of the ‘50s and it was the same year that the tenor saxophonist hooked up with Thelonious Monk to record the recently discovered live Carnegie Hall masterpiece.