Sunday, January 20, 2013

John Coltrane - The Very Best of John Coltrane: The Prestige Era (Fantasy, 2012)

Before tenor saxophonist John Coltrane became the all encompassing legend he remains today, he was a journeyman tenor saxophone player, highly respected by his peers, but scrambling to to make sense of the musical ideas that were swirling through his mind. This collection comes from 1956-1958, when he was recording as a leader for the Prestige record label and playing in the bands of Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. The selections on this album show Coltrane’s early facility on standards, with “I Hear a Rhapsody” and “I Love You” taken from the Lush Life LP, and the later particularly interesting as the piano player lays out, allowing Coltrane more space over just bass and drums and overshadowing the open-ended work he would focus on later in his career. He has a fine rhythm section of Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Art Taylor on drums backing him on a couple of lengthy jam-like performances, “Good Bait” by Tadd Dameron and his own original “Traneing In.” Both allow for strong and confident solos which show Coltrane’s continued growth as a saxophonist. This quartet comes together once again on “Bahia,” one of Coltrane’s final performances for Prestige from December of 1958. Healthy in mind and body, Coltrane sounds like a man ready for anything, and in fact beginning the following year he would make his ascendency to become one of the music’s greats. Doug Ramsey on John Coltrane's Prestige Years via Jazz Profiles. Very Best of John Coltrane: The Prestige Era - The compact disc is $5.00 cheaper than the mp3, isn't that unusual.

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