All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

677

John Coltrane: Ole

By

Sign in to view read count
John Coltrane never stopped wondering what he wanted from music, and never stopped pushing the boundaries. Trane genuinely strove to be saintly in his devotion to the divine, creating a body of deeply spiritual music that has come to be regarded as holy by his many devotees. His musical legacy was officially consecrated in 1971, when the Church of Saint John Will-I-Am Coltrane was founded in San Francisco. A gentle and enigmatic man of many voices, Trane was an often fiery, shockingly original musician. Put on any of his records, and the sounds emanating from his saxophone crackle with life. While his music was criticized by some as being too "aggressive," Trane knew (as some people "knew" in the 1960s) that love was the answer.

His albums gained in momentum, one after the other, until his death in1967, when perhaps he finally went even further beyond. When he recorded Olé Coltrane in 1961, Trane was already transitioning over to Impulse! Records, and his playing reflected the greater freedom that the new label afforded him. In the original liner notes, he is quoted as saying (in a classic understatement), "I like to play long." On the 18-minute showpiece "Olé," one can imagine the profound satisfaction he must have felt, when for the first time, he was free to let his playing stretch out across the record grooves. This is trance music of the highest order. Recorded one year after his former boss Miles Davis released Sketches of Spain , Trane's "Olé" resonates with the mystical sounds of the North African Moors who once ruled the Iberian Peninsula. While Sketches of Spain is big on Gil Evans' sweeping orchestrations and flamenco grandeur, "Olé" explores the Eastern-influenced musical modes of Islamic Spain in a more stripped down and earthy manner. Just two days after recording Africa/Brass, his stunning debut album for Impulse!, Trane took old band mates McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones into the studio for a rendezvous with some talented new friends. Joining them there were Trane's equally intense and innovative counterpart, Eric Dolphy, the very young trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, and bassists Reggie Workman and the Art Davis.

This dream team provided a great deal of musical empathy, liberating the conception and size of Coltrane's solos, spurring him to unknown heights. Everyone except Elvin Jones solos on "Olé," shaping the song with ever increasing freedom into the masterpiece that it is. Eric Dolphy's flute solo is unforgettable, communicating genius in a voice that no one could fail to identify. The interplay of the two basses lends an eerie mysticism to the song, with Art Davis' strong rhythmic bow-work suggesting the entrancing dance of Istanbul's Whirling Dervishes. "Dahomey Dance" is a more traditional sounding blues, with Trane switching to tenor sax. If not for the double-bass frontline and Dolphy's blissfully unconventional solo, this song could easily be mistaken for a missing gem from Miles' Kind Of Blue sessions. The album closes out with two beautifully lush songs. "Aisha" burns with such sensuality that it's hard to understand why it was one of the few McCoy Tyner compositions Trane ever recorded. The final track, a Billy Frazier composition entitled "Original Untitled Ballad (To Her Ladyship)," was not released until 1970. A lovely and delicate tune, it was excluded from the original release for some strange reason. A transitional record, Olé Coltrane successfully navigates the line between Trane's sonically challenging later years and his earlier accessibility. A magnificent milestone in Trane's artistic growth, this is an essential recording for any collection.

Track Listing: Olé (Coltrane); Dahomey Dance (Coltrane); Aisha (Tyner); Original Untitled Ballad (To Her Ladyship).

Personnel: John Coltrane—Tenor, Alto, and Soprano Saxophone; Eric Dolphy—Flute, Alto Saxophone; Freddie Hubbard—Trumpet; McCoy Tyner—Piano; Reggie Workman— Bass; Art Davis—Bass; Elvin Jones—Drums

Title: Ole | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Atlantic

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Oscar Peterson Plays CD/LP/Track Review
Oscar Peterson Plays
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2018
Read State Of The Baritone Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
State Of The Baritone Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one) CD/LP/Track Review
Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one)
by Chris May
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Friends & Family CD/LP/Track Review
Friends & Family
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read "Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik" CD/LP/Track Review Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 5, 2017
Read "Bringin' It" CD/LP/Track Review Bringin' It
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "The Bowels Of Jupiter" CD/LP/Track Review The Bowels Of Jupiter
by Don Phipps
Published: March 6, 2018
Read "Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations" CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "Live At The Cota Jazz Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Cota Jazz Festival
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 11, 2017
Read "Feefifofum Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review Feefifofum Quartet
by James Nadal
Published: July 9, 2017