Monday, December 24, 2012

DVD: Jazz Icons - John Coltrane: Live in France 1965 (Reelin' In The Years, 2011)

This is the second volume of John Coltrane live performances to be issued on the Jazz Icons imprint, which releases live concert footage from jazz legends from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. Recorded at the Antibes jazz festival in France, this video captures the “classic quartet” of John Coltrane on tenor and soprano saxophone, McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums at a turning point. Playing for consecutive days in front of a large festival audience, and performing the famous suite A Love Supreme for the only time live. The footage begins with a haunting and stoic version of the ballad “Naima.” The music is emotional in an imaginative manner and begins the concert in a very contemplative fashion. The first surprise is up next, when Coltrane launches headlong into “Ascension” leading a quartet version of the large ensemble long form improvisation which would polarize the jazz world upon its release on LP. You can sense the band was going in different directions at this point with Coltrane’s explosive saxophone playing foreshadowing the music he would pursue during the remainder of his career. Jimmy Garrison gets a long bass solo where he uses many techniques including plucking, strumming and bowing as a bridge between “Ascension” and the next song “Impressions.” This is a headlong quartet improvisation that features some excellent McCoy Tyner piano and blazing speed. The video ends with a dozen minutes of A Love Supreme, consisting of “Acknowledgement” and “Resolution.” It’s a fascinating tease, there is an audio release of the entire performance included in Impulse’s deluxe edition of A Love Supreme, and it shows the power and majesty of this performance. Soon this band, one of the best ever, would fracture and the musicians would split to pursue their different paths. This a wonderful chance to see this great band in one of their final performances together. Jazz Icons - John Coltrane: Live in France 1965 - amazon.com

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