John Coltrane – Coltrane’s Sound

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This is my one of favorite Coltranes, and I won’t try to convince you that it’s the best Coltrane because it definitely isn’t. But I will try to convince you that it’s as underrated as a Coltrane album can be compared to the rest of his repertoire, probably because Atlantic sat on it for 4 years (recorded in the same 3-day sessions as My Favorite Things and Coltrane Plays the Blues, back in 1960) which would have been fine if it weren’t for the behemoth of A Love Supreme that would inevitably overshadow it, released one year later. I pull this out more often than any other Coltrane for one easy reason: it’s warm and cozy, like chilling in the fireplace-heated living room on a winter night; maybe a cup of warm cocoa too, if those things ever tasted as good as advertised. Coltrane blazes through “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” with the melodic fervor of Stan Getz (whom Coltrane has complimented) while Elvin Jones’ cymbal-work gives the song a Latin flavour as Davis and Tyner provide ballast and colour. And despite the comparisons to “Naima” (from Giant Steps), I just take “Central Park West” as another great Coltrane ballad on its own; Tyner’s piano playing sets the stage as per the title (summer night), giving Coltrane, on soprano for the only time on the album, the space he needs to set the tone (heartfelt). People hoping for a more intense Coltrane will get it on the next two songs (as far as 1960-Coltrane gets, anyway) and closer “Satellite”; Elvin Jones injects heavy drum-rolls throughout “Liberia” and Tyner is allowed to let loose on “Body and Soul.” Actually, now that I think about it, Tyner’s clearly the star here: his rhythmically melodic (yeah, yeah, yeah) introduction to “Equinox” (bolstered by Jones) is easily one of my favourite moments in Coltrane’s entire discography, to say nothing of the rest of the song itself, which likely would have been the album’s best anyway. Probably an A- overall, but it’s so warm and cozy! How can I resist?

A

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7 responses to “John Coltrane – Coltrane’s Sound

  1. Great album. “Equinox” is one of my favorite pieces of music, period.

    I don’t know if Atlantic knew what to do with Coltrane. He was busting at the seams with ideas at that point. Once he moved over to Impulse! I think he began to grow so much as an artist.

    But still, Coltrane’s Sound is a classic record.

    • Yeah, it’s clear Atlantic had 0 clue what was going on. I mean, it’s smart to not release too much of an artist at a time to oversaturate listeners, but 4 years? Good God!

  2. Full agreement here. In fact, an A+ from me.

    True story: I have this on vinyl. My lovely wife and I will sit together, after the kids are alseep, and just let this record play. We do this often.

    Question: Did you do this one ‘cos we were talking about Coltrane earlier? 🙂

    • That bit about your family sounds lovely. Reviewed it because I’m on a jazz kick – going through the major players at the moment before the inspiration dies out (like it always does…) and I don’t listen to jazz again for a month.

      Incidentally, it was the film Whiplash that brought this jazz fever on. I’d highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it!

      • Yeah, my lovely wife and I have some music on which we differ, but our common ground tends to be jazz and blues. This Coltrane album is an old friend for us, we drop the needle and just let the day end.

        Always great to be on a jazz kick! I think I’ve seen Whiplash at the library, that’s the drum teacher movie, right?

        I hope your jazz phase last months. So much greatness, so little time. Take in all you can!

  3. A week? Not nearly long enough! Haha I know I do it too. I’ll get into a groove and then a metal album will catch my attention, or classical, or… What I try to do is keep a happy balance. As long as there is some jazz getting into my head every now and then, along with everything else, I’m all good. I just can’t leave it off completely. I’d really notice it was missing.

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