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John Coltrane: Coltrane's Sound

Douglas Payne By

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Something about John Coltrane's brief but prodigious Atlantic period (1959-61) reminds me of my hometown, Pittsburgh - even though none of these sessions were recorded there, nor were any of these brilliant musicians from the Steel town. There's something honest, soulful, down-home and deeply touching in this music. Always takes me back; makes me miss Pittsburgh too. Spin Coltrane's Sound and even non-jazz fans sense something. It's a warm, human sound that takes listeners somewhere they like to go.

Coltrane's Sound was released in 1966, six years after it was recorded, and during a period when listeners were beginning to embrace the soaring freedoms of Ascension. The eight post-bop songs here were recorded during the same two sessions (October 24 and 26, 1960) that produced some of My Favorite Things and most of the essential Coltrane Plays The Blues.

It was only pianist McCoy Tyner's third recording session with Coltrane - and drummer Elvin Jones's second occasion with sax legend. But both contribute exponentially to the success of Coltrane's conceptions. However, it's still the tenor sax which is most memorable throughout.

Coltrane's originals, "Liberia," "Satellite" and, most especially the disc's stand-out cuts, "Equinox" (featuring a marvelous solo from Tyner) and "Central Park West" (featuring Coltrane on soprano), are all worth hearing again and again. Coltrane also tears apart the standards "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes" and "Body and Soul" with an atypical fervor that invites even the most casual listener to stop and pay attention - and want to hear again.

This new Rhino issue matches the previous Atlantic CD release, which also added two worthwhile bonus cuts not originally available on the LP (Coltrane's "26-2" and a lively alternate take of "Body and Soul"). But the sound of the Rhino set is substantially improved and, course, the packaging on the new Rhino set is sumptuous: framing the music as it does as the art it truly is. Coltrane's Sound makes for essential, enjoyable jazz listening. It might make you think of home too.

Songs:The Night Has A Thousand Eyes; Central Park West; Liberia; Body and Soul; Equinox; Satellite; 26-2; Body and Soul (alternate take).

Players:John Coltrane: tenor or soprano sax; McCoy Tyner: piano; Steve Davis: bass; Elvin Jones: drums.

Title: Coltrane's Sound | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Rhino Records

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