John Coltrane has had no less than nine disc’s worth of material released this fall. Not bad for a guy who passed away nearly 40 years ago. This Pablo set should be greeted with the same shout of joy reserved for an Ohio State win over Michigan, simply because it over the most comprehensive look at a transition period of a musician whose career was constantly in transition to begin with. Although Impulse generally released two Coltrane albums a year, it simply wasn’t enough to document the evolution taking place. Covering roughly the end of Coltrane’s association with Atlantic to the release of Crescent, this set becomes the missing link in Coltrane’s evolution.
A quick look at the track listing shows that Coltrane’s live repertoire at the time was pretty limited; six versions of “My Favorite Things”, five versions of “Impressions” to name a few. But to gripe about the redundancy or the relatively few songs in each set is to ignore what Coltrane was all about, for each version sounds completely different from the others. Coltrane merely uses each tune as a springboard for all sorts of interesting ideas that never grow tiresome. The music is unbelievably intense, filled with surging rhythms and dark melodies that make it a set best experienced a disc at a time, perhaps with some Bill Evans thrown in occasionally to cleanse the palate before venturing on to the next set. These live versions suggest that Coltrane showed a different side to his musical personality in clubs, often doubling or tripling the running times of the studio versions and display Coltrane’s ability for constructing solos that never seem repetitive or overlong. In fact, after hearing “My Favorite Things” here, you’ll wonder if it could ever be playedundertwenty minutes. All this, and Eric Dolphy to boot. It’s hard to imagine a more important document of Coltrane's work released anytime soon. The price of the set may make you shudder, but remember: there’s always room on your Christmas list.
Track Listing: *Disc 1: 1) Impressions; 2) My Favorite Things; 3) Blue Train; 4) Naima; 5) Impressions; 6) My Favorite Things *Disc: 2 1) Mr. P.C.; 2) Miles' Mode; 3) My Favorite Things; 4) Norman Grantz Introduction; 5) Bye Bye Blackbird; 6) The Inch Worm; 7) Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye *Disc: 3 1) Mr. P.C.; 2) My Favorite Things; 3) The Inch Worm; 4) Mr. P.C.; 5. Naima *Disc: 4 1) Traneing In; 2) Bye Bye Blackbird; 3) Impressions; 4) Swedish Introduction; 5) Traneing In; 6) Mr. P.C.; *Disc: 5: 1) Naima; 2) The Promise; 3) Spiritual; 4) Impressions; 5) I Want To Talk About You; 6) My Favorite Things *Disc: 6: 1) Mr. P.C.; 2) Lonnie's Lament; 3) Naima; 4) Chasin' The Trane 5) My Favorite Things *Disc: 7: 1) Afro Blue; 2) Cousin Mary; 3) I Want To Talk About You; 4) Impressions
Personnel: John Coltrane--Tenor, soprano saxophones, McCoy Tyner--Piano, Jimmy Garrison, Reggie Workman--Bass, Elvin Jones--Drums