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Thread: John Coltrane!!

  1. #1
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    John Coltrane!!

    I've been getting into John Coltrane lately. I've been absolutely loving his stuff so far. Great musicianship combined with great tunes.

    What I've got is this:
    http://www.allmusic.com/album/essent...s-mw0002990237

    It contains:
    Giant steps
    Setting the pace
    Soultrane
    Kenny Burrel & John Coltrane
    My Favorite things
    Lush life

    What are his other essential albums? "A love supreme" is already on my shortlist but what else?

  2. #2
    To paraphrase the mighty Roofie on the abilities of Metheny; "he's very overated" [sic].

    No. Seriously. After ALS you need Blue Train, Meditations and - possibly - Sunship.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  3. #3
    Member Morpheus's Avatar
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    Imma put in some late Trane, essential IMO, but avoid if you don't like it free

    Ascension
    Interstellar Space

  4. #4
    Coltrane's Sound
    Crescent
    s/t on Impulse, and Prestige
    Africa Brass

  5. #5
    Ole Coltrane is an absolute must. And as others have already said: Coltrane's Sound, First Meditations, John Coltrane's Quartet Plays, Sunship. If that settles in, Ascension and Interstellar Space.

  6. #6
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    Personally, I would add Impressions (1963) which includes the great track "India" that inspired the Byrds' Eight Miles High.

  7. #7
    Boo! walt's Avatar
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    Crescent
    Transition
    Africa Brass
    "please do not understand me too quickly"-andre gide

  8. #8
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    It's difficult to narrow Trane down to a few essentials as there is so much output within a relatively short recording history, but I would go this route in roughly chronological order:

    The "earlier period"
    Coltrane (Prestige label) - '57
    My Favorite Things (Atlantic) - '60
    Ole Coltrane (Atlantic) - '61

    The maturation period
    Africa/Brass (full version preferred)- '61
    Live at the Village Vanguard (box set preferred) - '61
    Impressions - '61

    The OMG period
    Crescent - '64
    A Love Supreme - '64

    The "Knows no Limits" period

    Sun Ship - '65
    Ascension - '65
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    I've been getting into John Coltrane lately. I've been absolutely loving his stuff so far. Great musicianship combined with great tunes.

    What I've got is this:
    http://www.allmusic.com/album/essent...s-mw0002990237

    It contains:
    Giant steps
    Setting the pace
    Soultrane
    Kenny Burrel & John Coltrane
    My Favorite things
    Lush life

    What are his other essential albums? "A love supreme" is already on my shortlist but what else?
    That's an excellent starter set. I have almost everything that Coltrane ever recorded. IMO, your next move is to get to his other highlight recordings with Atlantic. No need, IMO, to bother with Blue Train or some of the other better-known '50s albums, at this point, as you've already got that era well-covered.

    Next, I'd recommend:
    Coltrane Jazz
    Ole
    Coltrane Plays the Blues
    Coltrane's Sound

    If you like those, then give the Village Vanguard album a try.

  10. #10
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    No. Seriously. After ALS you need Blue Train, Meditations and - possibly - Sunship.
    Trane is two artists.

    Early/mid Trane is a lyrical melody player with incredibly powerful solos. Blue Train, The Gentle Side of John Coltrane, Coltane's Sound, My Favorite Things, A Love Supreme -- all essential.

    Late Trane -- Sunship, Meditations, Coltrane/Sanders Live in Seattle, Interstellar Space -- different beast altogether. His so-called "sheets of sound" pretty much jettisoned melody altogether, in favor of a questing sound where he tried to play (my way of explaining it) 1980's synthesizer drone music on saxophone, twenty years before it became possible. VERY raucous, very abrasive, very intense, very wonderful if you like that sort of thing.

    But "John Coltrane music" is like "the music of Africa" or "the music of China" -- it ain't one thing.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    But "John Coltrane music" is like "the music of Africa" or "the music of China" -- it ain't one thing.
    I tend to like both, though. Albeit music from Cameroon isn't quite the music of Botswana, which differs a bit from the one in Egypt which again doesn't quite sound like the one in Namibia. I dunno; perhaps those countries even have more than one music. Who knows. It's a damn mystery, this. And Eli's still coming to break our hearts.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    And Eli's still coming to break our hearts.
    Ummm. Huh? I know the song but I don't quite get the relevance...
    National Flat Earth Society: The only thing we have to fear, is sphere itself.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Trane is two artists.

    Early/mid Trane is a lyrical melody player with incredibly powerful solos. Blue Train, The Gentle Side of John Coltrane, Coltane's Sound, My Favorite Things, A Love Supreme -- all essential.

    Late Trane -- Sunship, Meditations, Coltrane/Sanders Live in Seattle, Interstellar Space -- different beast altogether. His so-called "sheets of sound" pretty much jettisoned melody altogether, in favor of a questing sound where he tried to play (my way of explaining it) 1980's synthesizer drone music on saxophone, twenty years before it became possible. VERY raucous, very abrasive, very intense, very wonderful if you like that sort of thing.

    But "John Coltrane music" is like "the music of Africa" or "the music of China" -- it ain't one thing.
    I see him more as three. The pre-Giant Steps era is easily distinguishable from his 1960s pre-A Love Supreme work, in terms of style.

  14. #14
    From his earlier, "formative," years, it's really worth checking out his collaboration with Thelonius Monk - the crucial period when his playing was first transformed.

    I'd also recommend checking out the astonishing collaboration with Miles during the Quintet's tour of Northern Europe in spring 1960 — there are a number of recordings, the best of which being the gig at the Konserthuset in Stockholm. His playing on this tour is breathtaking.

    Some works are a little hard to keep track of, given complicated release histories - but one long piece worth tracking down is Kulu Se, Mama.

  15. #15
    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    What are his other essential albums?
    Black Pearls
    Live @ Birdland
    Hell, they ain't even old-timey ! - Homer Stokes

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    I don't quite get the relevance...
    My point precisely. Somewhat.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  17. #17
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    Ummm. Huh? I know the song but I don't quite get the relevance...
    Eli means 'ascension' in Hebrew...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    To paraphrase the mighty Roofie on the abilities of Metheny; "he's very overated" [sic].
    Jazz drummers are all one trick ponies. Get Mike Portnoy in instead!

    What the O/P mentions seems to be one of those public domain jobs, where albums that were- at the time- 50 year old could be put out by any old label in Europe. That changed around 2013 to 70 years.

    The Village Vanguard material would be a good next place to go.

  19. #19
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    It's difficult to narrow Trane down to a few essentials as there is so much output within a relatively short recording history, but I would go this route in roughly chronological order:

    The "earlier period"
    Coltrane (Prestige label) - '57
    My Favorite Things (Atlantic) - '60
    Ole Coltrane (Atlantic) - '61

    The maturation period
    Africa/Brass (full version preferred)- '61
    Live at the Village Vanguard (box set preferred) - '61
    Impressions - '61

    The OMG period
    Crescent - '64
    A Love Supreme - '64

    The "Knows no Limits" period

    Sun Ship - '65
    Ascension - '65
    I agree with your analysis in large, but...


    Though an Atlantic recording, I'd place Olé Coltrane in the "mature Coltrane" section, along with the rest of his modal jazz releases on Impulse! with Africa/Brass and the rest
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  20. #20
    Nobody mentioned Om up till now.

    It's an absolute must. Equally beastial and divine at the same time.
    Macht das ohr auf!

    COSMIC EYE RECORDS

  21. #21
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spacefreak View Post
    Nobody mentioned Om up till now.

    It's an absolute must. Equally beastial and divine at the same time.
    Kind of tangential, but John's wife Alice put out several heavily-spiritual jazz albums on harp and/or piano after John died. I find them a much more easily digestible expression of their intense spirituality.

  22. #22
    I'm mainly only familiar with the Impulse! era records, which I think are mostly brilliant. My favorites are:

    Africa/Brass
    Live At Village Vanguard
    A Love Supreme
    Impressions
    John Coltrane Quartet Plays...
    Transition
    Trane's Modes
    Kulu Se Mama

    I'm not sure of what's exactly in print these days, or in what form. Back in the 90's, a handful of box sets came out that kind of covered the majority of the Impulse! recordings. There was the 1961 Village Vanguard sessions box, a four CD that gathered together music that was originally released on at least four different LP releases (though only two came out during Trane's life time).

    The complete classic quartet studio sessions set (I forget what the exact title is) is an 8 CD that the same for nearly all the recordings of the Trane/Tyner/Garrison/Jones quartet. There's a couple tracks with Art Davis added on bass (yes, that means two bassists) and a couple sessions that have Roy Haynes subbing for Elvin Jones (who took a leave of absence for "personal reasons").

    There's also the Major Works Of John Coltrane, which was a two CD set that combined both versions of Ascension, Om, and side one of Kulu Se Mama (plus an outtake from the Kulu Se Mama session), but I think most of those have since been issued on separate CD's (I gather they were also available in that form in Japan, but during the 90's, imports were hard to come by where I lived, and in any case, were expensive).

    And I believe Africa/Brass is presently only available (albeit with the tracks split up by session, thus disturbing the original track list) is in a double CD called The Complete Africa/Brass Sessions.

    If you buy all of the above sets, you'll have most of the music Trane released on Impulse! during his lifetime, as well as a great deal of the posthumous material. There's a handful of other records not represented on this set, such as Interstellar Space (a great album of duets with drummer Rashied Ali, which was apparently one of Trane's last studio sessions). There's also Stellar Regions and Expression (which I believe was the last album that Trane himself actually signed off on), but I've never heard either of those, so I can't comment on them.

    I believe the night before the Om session, Coltrane's group at the time was recorded onstage in Seattle, and that was released as Live In Seattle. The group is the classic quartet plus Pharoah Sanders and Donald Garrett.

    There's also Live In Japan, a four CD set taken from radio broadcasts from his only Japanese tour. Includes a 45 minute version of My Favorite Things. This was the quintet he had near the end of his life, with his second wife Alice replacing McCoy Tyner, Rasheid Ali replacing Elvin Jones, and second reedsman Pharoah Sanders. There's a single CD with the group called Live At The Village Vanguard Again.

    And there's the Live Trane set, which is a boxset of live recordings made in Europe circa 61-63. Disc one of this set includes the only recordings besides the 61 Village Vanguard sessions to include Eric Dolphy. The other discs also give some interesting variations on standard Trane material.

    Somehow I never did get into the pre-Impulse era records. I know I should at least have the Atlantic era albums, but I just never got around to it.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    His so-called "sheets of sound" pretty much jettisoned melody altogether, in favor of a questing sound where he tried to play (my way of explaining it) 1980's synthesizer drone music on saxophone, twenty years before it became possible. VERY raucous, very abrasive, very intense, very wonderful if you like that sort of thing.
    Actually, "sheets of sound" refers to his habit of playing really fast arpeggios and scale patterns. The phrase was actually coined in a Down Beat review in 1958. I'd compare more to what fusion and metal guitarists would do later on with various speed picking techniques. There's even an instructional book called "Sheets Of Sound For Guitar". I'm not sure which "80's synthesizer music" you're comparing the sheets of sound thing to, though.

  24. #24
    Casanova TCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    I've been getting into John Coltrane lately. I've been absolutely loving his stuff so far. Great musicianship combined with great tunes.
    What are his other essential albums? "A love supreme" is already on my shortlist but what else?
    Bien!.

    My take:

    - Blue Train.
    - Giant Steps.
    - Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane.
    - My Favorites Things.
    - Africa/Brass Sessions.
    - Live! at the Village Vanguard.
    - Duke Ellington and John Coltrane.
    - A Love Supreme.
    - Ascension.
    Pura Vida!.

    There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind. ∞
    Duke Ellington.

  25. #25
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the insightfull comments guys! Discusions like this one are the reason I like this site so much.

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