Friday, December 25, 2009

Jazz Icons: John Coltrane Live in '60, '61 & '65 (Reelin' in the Years, 2007)

Incredible footage of Coltrane performing in 1960 with Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb beginning his epic quest, with his Atlantic and Prestige recordings behind him and his Impulse ones to come. They follow what was by then the standard Miles Davis repertoire such as "Walkin'" and "Autumn Leaves." There is a special treat at the end of this session with Oscar Peterson guesting on piano, and Stan Getz joining Coltrane on tenor for a wonderful version of Thelonious Monk's "Hackensack." This was Coltrane at a watershed moment, on his final tour as part of the Miles Davis Quintet, his last engagement as a sideman, he was truly at a crossroads. A year later he is leading his own group with a perfect foil in Eric Dlophy on alto saxophone and flute, McCoy Tyner on piano, Reggie Workman on bass and Elvin Jones on drums. The version of "My Favorite Things" is particularly thrilling, with Coltrane's eastern-tinged soprano saxophone and Dolphy's swirling flute making for an unforgettable combination. The performance from Belguim 1965 is absolutely thrilling, with Coltrane in another transitional phase, having recently released his classic A Love Supreme, and evolving his own particularly unique blend of spiritually infused free jazz. Opening with the band already in the process of playing the caustic "Vigil" the music is incredibly intense, with the group playing at a very high level. "Naima" slows the pace down and proves that they were still at this stage interested in song form, with a beautiful performance of the great Coltrane ballad. Finally, an epic version of "My Favorite Things" deconstructs the the tune into a vehicle for pure expression, greeted by rapturous applause from the audience. Jazz Icons: John Coltrane -

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