596

Coltrane Tributes: Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Khan Jamal, Azar Lawrence & Joel Holmes

By

Sign in to view read count








Jamaaladeen Tacuma

Coltrane Configurations

Jazzwerkstatt

2009


Khan Jamal

Impressions of Coltrane

SteepleChase

2009


Azar Lawrence

Legacy and Music of John Coltrane

Clarion Jazz

2009


Joel Holmes

African Skies

Blue Canoe

2009


John Coltrane was revered during his all-too-brief career and in the 42 years since his death, his legacy has only loomed larger as improvised music has fragmented and factioned. Conservatives embrace him for his stunning technique and the giant musical steps he took in the late '50s; the radicals love him for his championing of what has been called fire music by both fans and detractors. The last four decades have seen new recordings surface, countless reissues and, of course, myriad tribute projects. These four homages encompass the entirety of Coltrane's unique vision and there's something here to satisfy every taste.

Most of the Coltrane material referenced is of the modal period, as it allows quite a lot of freedom. Furthest out is the wild live recording Coltrane Configurations by bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma's new group dedicated to performing Coltrane's music. It's infused with all the funk and machismo one would expect, especially on a barnburner like "India," where exploration abounds and the stratosphere is reached. Tacuma's playing is as majestic as ever and it is a real pleasure to hear "India" imbued with such energy. The project is certainly not all fire and brimstone, however, and "Naima" shows the group in quite a sensitive mode. "A Love Supreme" reaches spiritual heights, with audience participation, rounding off a very enjoyable tribute.

Saxophonist Azar Lawrence and vibraphonist Khan Jamal offer up projects slightly closer to the small-group sound that Coltrane cultivated in the late '50s-early '60s. There is just a shade of coolness in Jamal's Impressions of Coltrane, evident as he and his group swing breezily into the mid-tempo blues of "Cousin Mary." It pervades his gorgeous take on "Central Park West," he and pianist Farid Barron sliding effortlessly through the complex changes. Jamal even manages to keep his solo on the visceral "Afro Blue" light and airy, despite heavy pedaling and traversing the whole range of the instrument.

Lawrence's two-saxophone group presents a more heated approach on Legacy and Music of John Coltrane, his hard-edged sound, honed through early experience with former Coltrane pianist McCoy Tyner, exuding wisdom. His take on the ballad "I Want to Talk About You" exhibits the strident tone of Coltrane's versions while "My Favorite Things" is reminiscent of the 1965 Newport version in its on-edge all-inclusive aesthetic, aided by Mark Lomax II's energetic drumming. As with Tacuma, he's spurred on by an enthusiastic audience.

Pianist Joel Holmes' disc African Skies stands apart for its orchestrational intrigue. He seems to be following up on the implications of Coltrane's increasingly disparate soundworld, as on his subtly orchestrated rendering of Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage." The title track's intro also sports the meterless freedom of Coltrane's final works, making it a very refreshing moment before the tune's complexities kick in.

Each approach is unique—if for no other reason than the four different instruments played by each leader—and the versions of each tune bear comparison quite well. Each artist acknowledges Coltrane without being enslaved to his influence, making these discs especially enjoyable in their diversity.

Tracks and Personnel



Coltrane Configurations

Tracks: India; Dahomey Dance; Impressions; Naima; A Love Supreme.

Personnel: Jamaaladeen Tacuma: bass; Tony Kofi: alto and soprano sax; Orrin Evans: keyboards; Tim hutson: drums.



Impressions of Coltrane

Tracks: Cousin Mary; Blues for P.C.; Central Park West; Afro Blue; Mr. P.C.; Naima; One Down One Up; Impressions.

Personnel: Khan Jamal: vibes; Farid Barron: piano; Curtis Lundi: bass; Edgar Bateman: drums.



Legacy and Music of John Coltrane

Tracks: I Want to Talk About You; Mr. P.C.; Impressions; My Favorite Things.

Personnel: Azar Lawrence, Edwin Bayard: tenor sax; William Mennefield: piano; Dean Hulette: bass; Mark Lomax II: drums.



African Skies

Tracks: African Skies; Impressions; Chinese Fishing Song; Mr. P.C.; Fatima; Summer Night; Impressions (take 2); Maiden Voyage; Soliquey of Troubled Waters; Moments Notice.

Personnel: Joel Holmes: piano; Gary Thomas, Tim Green: reeds; Eric Kennedy: drums; Jeff Reed, Eric Wheeler: bass; Melena: percussion; Themba Mikhatshwa: conga, djembe; Chun-Wen Chuan: cello; Chia Yin Holmes: violin.

Shop

More Articles

Read Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read New, Notable and Nearly Missed Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read Weekertoft Hits Its Stride… Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Calling Ra, Mr. Sun Ra your rocket ship is ready" Multiple Reviews Calling Ra, Mr. Sun Ra your rocket ship is ready
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…" Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Three saxophonists very different paths since "Propagations"" Multiple Reviews Three saxophonists very different paths since "Propagations"
by John Eyles
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Emanem Tidies Up" Multiple Reviews Emanem Tidies Up
by John Eyles
Published: December 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!