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John Coltrane: Coltrane '58: The Prestige Recordings

Mike Jurkovic By

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Sure these 37 tracks, predominantly standards, blues, and ballads have been released before on such earlier, pre-iconoclast recordings as Black Pearls, Soultrane, Bahia, and Setting The Pace, (Prestige, 1958) but never as chronologically curated as they are presented here on Coltrane '58: The Prestige Recordings.

Certainly an argument can be made that they may not be as revelatory as 2018's Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album (Impulse!), but the remastered music pops on this 5CD, 8LP set of curio and study, and for that Craft Recordings should be saluted. Add in Ashley Khan's luminous liner notes, lavish emphera and rare photos contained in the accompanying booklet and we are given ample insight into this fiery, ever changing, ever challenging and ever commanding year wherein Coltrane set out to make his mark. A decade long dominance that, some sixty years on, still captures the hearts, ears and imaginations of listeners the world over.

Though in 1957 he had recorded Blue Trane his only Blue Note session as a leader, Coltrane '58: The Prestige Recordings follows Coltrane primarily as a sideman, lending his emerging soulful, searching sound to sessions led by such bop comrades and confidantes as pianist Red Garland, trumpeters Donald Byrd and Freddie Hubbard, guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Paul Chambers and drummers Jimmy Cobb and Art Taylor, just to name a few.

Rudy Van Gelder's Hackensack, NJ home studio was ground zero for all these recordings.

Books have been written about Coltrane's development of his unique "sheets of sound" approach during the hotbed year of 1958, and undoubtedly more scholarly exercise will be given now that we have Coltrane '58: The Prestige Recordings to refer back to. But it's the music we're interested with here and there's plenty to discuss.

Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life" is just the first of many gems that shine hot. This lush ballad rolls at a cool tempo, but Coltrane is soloing with a heat that sparks the rest of this set. Irving Berlin's quiet, inward looking "Russian Lullaby" opens with Red Garland's stately solo but soon explodes with a frantic Coltrane blowing up the melody while chasing down the song's harmonic scales. Art Taylor propels the tune forward on his hi-hat as Coltrane improvs more urgently, the ideas bursting forth. "Theme for Ernie" which follows, slows the pace with is a deep throated, late night blues. Coltrane counters that with a swinging take on a young McCoy Tyner blues "The Believer" running in tandem with Byrd then trading solos. "Come Rain or Come Shine," the Latin-ish lilt of "Nakatini Serenade," Tommy Flanagan's groove "Big Paul" with Burrell and Coltrane sliding over and under the other . . . the highlights go on, including passionate original Coltrane compositions "Lover Come Back to Me," and a yearning "Goldsboro Express," a piano-less trio statement with Chambers and Cobb.

Track Listing: Disc 1: Lush Life; Come Rain or Come Shine; The Believer; Nakatine Serenade; Lover; Russian Lullabye; Theme for Ernie; You Say You Care. Disc 2: Good Bait; I Want to Talk About You; Lyresto; Why Was I Born; Freight Trane; I Never Knew; Big Paul; I See Your Face Before Me. Disc 3: Rise and Shine; Little Melonae; If There Is Someone Lovelier Than You; By the Numbers; Black Pearls; Lover Come Back to Me. Disc 4: Sweet Sapphire Blues; Spring is Here; Invitation; I'm a Dreamer (Aren't We All); Love Thy Neighbor; Don't Take Your Love From Me; Stardust. Disc 5: My Ideal; I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You); Do I Love You Because You Are Beautiful; Then I'll Be Tired of You; Something I Dreamed Last Night; Bahia; Goldsboro Express; Time After Time.

Personnel: John Coltrane: tenor saxophone; Kenny Burrell: guitar; Donald Byrd: trumpet; Paul Chambers: bass; Jimm Cobb: drums; Tommy Flanagan: piano; Red Garland: piano; Wilbur Harden: trumpet, flugelhorn; Louis Hayes: drums; Freddie Hubbard: trumpet; Art Taylor: drums.

Title: Coltrane '58: The Prestige Recordings | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Craft Recordings

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