Saturday, April 20, 2013

John Coltrane - Sun Ship: The Complete Sessions (Impulse, 2013)

It is amazing to think how much extraordianry music that John Coltrane made in 1965. Releasing the albums The John Coltrane Quartet PlaysMeditations and the game changing Ascension he also recorded enough music to fill several albums that were released posthumously including Sun Ship. This two disc collection includes all of the music that was recorded on August 26, 1965. One of the last sessions of the so-called "classic quartet" with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums, the music gains much of its energy due to the different paths the musicians were ready to embark upon. Coltrane was headed toward a unique and spiritual version of free jazz, while Tyner and Jones wanted to remain playing post-bop jazz that they were comfortable with. The performances on this collection, "Dearly Beloved," "Attaining," "Sun Ship," "Ascent" and "Amen" are presented in their complete forms with master takes, alternate takes and incomplete/inserts as well. It's particularly fascinating to hear how the album came together in the studio. Despite all of the extra material, the album remains surprisingly listenable, and quite fascinating as they build the music block by block. For such powerful music, the session was quite relaxed as some included studio banter demonstrates. The music is truly transitional, but absolutely fascinating to listen to, as Coltrane takes off for the stars while the group searches for their role in the evolving music. The interactions between Coltrane and drummer Elvin Jones are particularly powerful. Sun Ship: Complete Sessions - amazon.com

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