This album catches John Coltrane’s set at the 1961 Newport Jazz Festival and includes solid live versions of “Impressions,” “Naima,” and “My Favorite Things.” (by Steve Leggett)
Collected tons of weird, obscure bootleg Coltrane material in the mid-00s so I’m always surprised when something like this pops up that I’ve never heard. In the context of Coltrane bootlegs, this is about a C, maybe good for people who like the mellower-but-still-improvisitory sound of Coltrane’s early quartet. Any fan of Coltrane’s live performances knows he kept re-working “Impressions” and “My Favorite Things” into monstrous existential dirges right till the end–compared to that, these are definitely the more pleasant, jaunty, melodic versions, even compared to the Raga-infused “Village Vanguard” sets from ’61.
I don’t even see a track listing here–it’s “Impressions,” “Naima,” “My Favorite Things,” (Newport ’61) then “Blue Train,” “I Want to Talk about You,” “Impressions,” “My Favorite Things.” (European tour w/ Eric Dolphy.) The Newport set has better sound quality. I believe the second set is included in the “Live Trane” box set which I purchased years ago.
The general sound of the Newport material is very similar to the Live Trane 1961 European tour material, generally, only without Dolphy. There are no face-melting Coltrane brilliancies, really, although “My Favorite Things” is always more or less revelatory (I’m comparing it to dozens of versions I’ve heard, so my standards are pretty high.) McCoy Tyner (piano) was young, and definitely got better throughout the 60s, so this is some of his weakest work. Coltrane does some of that great fast-run sax tenor playing on the “Impressions” versions (as opposed to the slower sound of say “Chasin’ the Trane”-style.)
Nothing wrong with it, but nothing to moisten your trousers, really, even if you’re a Coltrane collector. The Newport ’61 stuff is not a bad sampling of Coltrane’s early quartet on stage (there’s no official Impulse! record that corresponds to it, really,) (Hogarth Blortsporr)
Live at the Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, Rhode Island, July 1, 1961.
Bonus Tracks 5 to 8: Kulttuuritalo, Helsinki, Finland, November 22, 1961.
John Coltrane (saxophone)
Elvin Jones (drums)
McCoy Tyner (piano)
Reggie Workman (bass)
Art Davis (bass on 01. – 04.)
Eric Dolphy (saxophone, flute on 05. – 08.)
01. Announcement 1.24
02. Impressions (Coltrane) 6.23
03 Naima (Coltrane) 4:18
04. My Favorite Things (Rodgers/Hammerstein II) 16.28
05. Blue Train (Coltrane) 9.29
06. I Want To Talk About You (Eckstine) 7.19
07. Impressions (Coltrane) 8.23
08. My Favorite Things (Rodgers/Hammerstein II) 21.05
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