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.
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.
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.