Arguably John Coltrane's finest all-around album, this recording has brilliant versions of "Afro Blue" and "I Want to Talk About You"; the second half of the latter features Coltrane on unaccompanied tenor tearing into the piece but never losing sight of the fact that it is a beautiful ballad. The remainder of this album ("Alabama," "The Promise," and "Your Lady") is almost at the same high level.
This second volume in Universal/Impulse's reissuing of the albums of John Coltrane contains some choice titles. For those who love the early Impulse Trane, there is certainly something here for you in the John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman collection of ballads. There's also the excellent quartet era with Live at Birdland, Crescent, and the seminal A Love Supreme, the record that changed everything ever after for him. In addition, there is the 1963 album Impressions, a compilation of sorts. There is a long quartet selection called "Up 'Gainst the Wall" (1962), a beautiful but brief "After the Rain" with drummer Roy Haynes sitting in for Elvin Jones from 1963, the title cut, and opening number "India," recorded with Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet and Reggie Workman as an additional bassist.
Years of canonization have obscured how John Coltrane was at a bit of crossroads in the early '60s, playing increasingly adventurous music on-stage while acquiescing to Impulse!'s desire to record marketable albums. Whenever he could, producer Bob Thiele would capture Coltrane working out new music with pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, and bassist Jimmy Garrison. One of these sessions happened at Rudy Van Gelder's New Jersey studio on March 6, 1963, when Coltrane's quartet was in the thick of a residency at New York's Birdland and just before they were scheduled to cut an album with vocalist Johnny Hartman.
Here it is: eight CDs worth of John Coltrane's classic quartet, comprised of bassist Jimmy Garrison, pianist McCoy Tyner, and drummer Elvin Jones, recorded between December of 1961 and September of 1965 when the artist followed his restless vision and expanded the band before assembling an entirely new one before his death. What transpired over the course of the eight albums and supplementary material used elsewhere is nothing short of a complete transfiguration of one band into another one, from a band that followed the leader into places unknown to one that inspired him and pushed him further. All of this transpired in the span of only three years.
This mid-'90s DCC Jazz edition of the John Coltrane (tenor sax)/Paul Quinichette (tenor sax) title Cattin' with Coltrane and Quinichette (1959) contains the same excellent remastering and bonus tracks as its standard silver pressing - without the superfluous expense of a 24-karat gold disc. Audiophile pressing or naught, what remains as the centerpiece are the selections that the co-leads cut during a mid-May 1957 session with Mal Waldron (piano), plus a rhythm section consisting of Julian Euell (bass) and Ed Thigpen (drums). Waldron - who penned all the album's originals - proves why he is one of the best composer/arrangers for Coltrane…