For a cross-section of Coltrane’s muse circa the early 1960s few albums are as representative as Impressions. The disc gathers performances from both concert and studio dates and offers an assortment of compositions that together illustrate just how multifaceted the master could be. Though none of the material on this most recent edition is unissued and majority is available on a pair of recent box sets ( Complete 1961Village Vanguard Sessions
and Complete Classic Quartet
) this single disc still offers an exciting distillation of Coltrane’s tremendous talent. “India” and the title track are two expansive examples of the synergy that existed between Trane and Eric Dolphy on the bandstand. The former features the front-line combination of soprano and bass clarinet, while the latter hones in on a tenor/alto tandem. Why these two variants were the pair’s favored combinations is open to interpretation, but the urgency and depth of their creations becomes immediately apparent in either setting. “Up ‘Gainst the Wall” and “After the Rain” are interesting detours, but the brevity of each leaves the ears grasping for more.
“Dear Old Stockholm,” the title piece of an earlier Impulse offering is appended to this disc for some inexplicable reason. For this final piece Roy Haynes pinch hits for Jones and provides a decidedly different, yet no less dynamic presence as the rhythmic anchor for the quartet. All of the tracks, though disparate in origin fit remarkably well together making this is a collection to be treasured, particularly by those not wanting to shell out the ducats on the expensive box sets.
Tracks:India*°/ Up ‘Gainst the Wall/ Impressions*/ After the Rain/ Dear Old Stockholm.
Players:John Coltrane- tenor & soprano saxophones; Eric Dolphy- alto saxophone, bass clarinet*; McCoy Tyner- piano; Jimmy Garrison- bass; Reggie Workman- bass°; Roy Haynes- drums; Elvin Jones- drums.
Recorded: November, 1961, NYC, September 1962 & April 1963, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.