Although seemingly impossible to comprehend, this landmark jazz date made in 1960 was recorded in less than three days. All the more remarkable is that the same sessions which yielded My Favorite Things would also inform a majority of the albums Coltrane Plays the Blues, Coltrane's Sound, and Coltrane Legacy. It is easy to understand the appeal that these sides continue to hold. The unforced, practically casual soloing styles of the assembled quartet – which includes Coltrane (soprano/tenor sax), McCoy Tyner (piano), Steve Davis (bass), and Elvin Jones (drums) – allow for tastefully executed passages à la the Miles Davis Quintet, a trait Coltrane no doubt honed during his tenure in that band.
The John Coltrane Quartet's mind expanding quality is displayed on a half-dozen trinkets with Coltrane's innovative dressing of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's "My Favorite Things," and the high-energy "Blue Trane," the glossiest. He shows a softness on "Naima," and links the jazz idiom with divine power on "Spiritual" for a musical baptismal that's excellent for impromptu meditation sessions. The six tracks, which include Billy Eckstine's much recorded "I Want to Talk About You," flows for more than 60 minutes, which is enough of 'Trane and his crews' therapeutic expressions to clear the cobwebs, tranquil nerves, and soothe the savage beast.
One of the most important records ever made, John Coltrane's A Love Supreme was his pinnacle studio outing, that at once compiled all of the innovations from his past, spoke to the current of deep spirituality that liberated him from addictions to drugs and alcohol, and glimpsed at the future innovations of his final two and a half years. Recorded over two days in December 1964, Trane's classic quartet–Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, and Jimmy Garrison– stepped into the studio and created one of the most the most thought-provoking, concise, and technically pleasing albums of their bountiful relationship. From the undulatory (and classic) bassline at the intro to the last breathy notes, Trane is at the peak of his logical and emotionally varied soloing, while the rest of the group is completely atttuned to his spiritual vibe.
The tenor sax giant had signed with another label when he embarked on this one-off date for Blue Note, an excursion that paid off with an enduring modern jazz masterpiece. Boasting volley after volley of smart soloing and intuitively swinging rhythm work, Blue Train is a joy, from the coolly precise ensemble entry on the opening title piece through the set's balance of elegant hard bop conversations and smooth downshifts into ballads. John Coltrane wrote four originals for the date, all of them now regarded as standards, and assembled a rhythm section including pianist Kenny Drew, Miles Davis's rhythm section of bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones, and trumpeter Lee Morgan and trombonist Curtis Fuller, both recent Blue Note recruits. Coltrane's signature sound, now fully developed but still hewing more to familiar blues and chromatic harmonies than his later modalities, is confident and expansive, and his partners respond vividly throughout.
1965 was a furious time for John Coltrane. He had just come off the recording of the future landmark, A Love Supreme a year earlier and now was in mist of a series of quartet and ensemble sessions. By June of '65 Coltrane had recorded The Quartet Plays, OM, Kulu Se Mama, Selflessness and another landmark recording to rival A Love Supreme–Ascension. Ascension was a massive work that feature a who's who of future jazz legends (Freddie Hubbard, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Art Davis, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones, Marion Brown, Dewey Johnson and McCoy Tyner). It is another spiritual masterpiece that is difficult for the average Coltrane fan to get their head and ears around. It is a cavalcade of sound and emotion that is similar in scope to OM. Shortly after its release Coltrane set out on a European tour with his current quartet. This formed the basis for the Live In France release.
2009 release containing John Coltrane's last ever performance at the Newport Jazz Festival, on July 2, 1966. This is the first time that this material is issued on any format! Coltrane performed three extended tunes at the festival, including a version of 'My Favorite Things' that is much freer than ever, a beautiful reading of his ballad 'Welcome' and a powerful version of 'Leo', a song he had taped in the studio six months earlier.