Thelonious Monk – With John Coltrane (1961)

FrontCover1Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane is a 1961 album by Thelonious Monk issued on Jazzland Records, a subsidiary of Riverside Records. It consists of material recorded four years earlier when Monk worked extensively with John Coltrane, issued after Coltrane had become a leader and jazz star in his own right.

The album was assembled by the label with material from three different sessions. The impetus for the album was the discovery of three usable studio tracks recorded by the Monk Quartet with Coltrane in July 1957 at the beginning of the band’s six-month residency at New York’s legendary Five Spot club near Cooper Square. To round out the release, producer Keepnews included two outtakes from the Monk’s Music album recorded the previous month, and an additional outtake from Thelonious Himself recorded in April.[6] The latter selection, “Functional,” is a solo piano piece by Monk.

It was reissued in 2000 on Fantasy Records as part of its series for back catalogue using the JVC 20-bit K2 coding system. Because of the historical significance of this album it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2007.

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Universally regarded as one of the greatest collaborations between the two most influential musicians in modern jazz (Miles Davis notwithstanding), the Jazzland sessions from Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane should be recognized on other levels. While the mastery of the principals is beyond reproach, credit should also be given to peerless bassist Wilbur Ware, as mighty an anchor as anyone could want. These 1957 dates also sport a variety in drummerless trio, quartet, septet, or solo piano settings, all emphasizing the compelling and quirky compositions of Monk. A shouted-out, pronounced “Off Minor” and robust, three-minute “Epistrophy” with legendary saxophonists Coleman Hawkins, Gigi Gryce, and the brilliant, underappreciated trumpeter Ray Copeland are hallmark tracks that every jazz fan should revere. Of the four quartet sessions, the fleet “Trinkle Tinkle” tests Coltrane’s mettle, as he’s perfectly matched alongside Monk, but conversely unforced during “Nutty” before taking off. Monk’s solo piano effort,

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“Functional,” is flavored with blues, stride, and boogie-woogie, while a bonus track, “Monk’s Mood,” has a Monk-Ware-Coltrane tandem (minus drummer Shadow Wilson) back for an eight-minute excursion primarily with Monk in a long intro, ‘Trane in late, and Ware’s bass accents booming through the studio. This will always be an essential item standing proudly among unearthed live sessions from Monk and Coltrane, demarcating a pivotal point during the most significant year in all types of music, from a technical and creative standpoint, but especially the jazz of the immediate future. (by Michael G. Nastos)

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Personnel:
John Coltrane (saxophone)
Thelonious Monk — piano
Wilbur Ware (bass)
Shadow Wilson (drums)
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Art Blakey — drums on 03. + 05.)
Ray Copeland (trumpet on 03. + 06.)
Gigi Gryce (saxophone on 03. + 06.)
Coleman Hawkins (saxophone on 03, + 06.)

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Tracklist:
01. Ruby, My Dear (Monk)  5.22
02. Trinkle, Tinkle (Monk) 6.41
03. Off Minor (Monk) 5.16
04. Nutty (Monk) 6.39
05. Epistrophy (Clarke/Monk) 3.10
06. Functional (Monk) 8.42

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Duke Ellington & John Coltrane – Same (1963)

FrontCover1Duke Ellington & John Coltrane is a jazz album by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane recorded on September 26, 1962, and released in February 1963 on Impulse! Records.
It was one of Ellington’s many collaborations in the early 1960s with musicians such as Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Max Roach, and Charles Mingus, and placed him with a quartet (in this case, saxophone, piano, bass, and drums), rather than a big band.

Coltrane played in a more accessible style during this time, on albums such as John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman and Ballads. Despite their differences in background, style, and age – Ellington was 63 and Coltrane 36 when the tracks were recorded – it has been said[by whom?] that the two interacted seamlessly.
The quartet was filled out by the bassist and drummer from either of their bands. The album featured Ellington standards (e.g., “In a Sentimental Mood”), new Ellington compositions, and a new Coltrane composition (“Big Nick”).

Coltrane said:
I was really honoured to have the opportunity of working with Duke. It was a wonderful experience. He has set standards I haven’t caught up with yet. I would have liked to have worked over all those numbers again, but then I guess the performances wouldn’t have had the same spontaneity. And they mightn’t have been any better! (by wikipedia)
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John Coltrane & Duke Ellington
The classic 1962 album Duke Ellington & John Coltrane showcased the rising jazz saxophone innovator performing alongside the long-established piano institution. While the pairing might have portended a dynamic clash of the musical generations, instead we got a casual, respectful, and musically generous meeting of like-minded souls. Similarly, while one might have assumed that Ellington would use his sidemen, instead producer Bob Thiele (who also produced similar albums for Ellington including pairings with Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins) chose to bring in Coltrane’s own outfit for the proceedings. Consequently, the duo is backed here at various times by bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones, as well as alternates bassist Aaron Bell and drummer Sam Woodyard. The most surprising aspect of the Ellington/Coltrane date is how well suited Coltrane and his group are at playing what largely ends up being Ellington’s own material. While he was certainly in the nascency of his more avant-garde period in 1962, Coltrane had a deep understanding of traditional jazz vocabulary, having played in a swing band in the Navy in the 1940s and studied the style of artists like Hawkins and Ben Webster while coming up in Philadelphia.

Similarly, though an icon of the big-band era by the 1960s, Ellington had been on the upswing of a career resurgence ever since his dynamic performance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, later released as Ellington at Newport. His meeting with Coltrane was emblematic of his renewed creativity and was one of several albums he recorded in his latter life with theretofore unexpected artists, not the least of which his other 1962 date, Money Jungle with bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach.

Here, Ellington and Coltrane play a handful of well-known Ellington book numbers, including a supremely lyrical “In a Sentimental Mood” and a soulful, half-lidded version of Billy Strayhorn’s “My Little Brown Book.” Ellington even supplied the brisk original “Take the Coltrane,” allowing plenty of room for Coltrane to let loose with knotty, angular lines. (by Matt Collar)

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Personnel:
Aaron Bell (bass on 01., 04., 05. + 07.)
John Coltrane (saxophone)
Duke Ellington (piano)
Jimmy Garrison (bass on 02., 03. + 06.)
Elvin Jones (drums on  01. – 03. +  06.)
Sam Woodyard (drums on 04., 05. +  07.)

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Tracklist:
01. In A Sentimental Mood (Ellington) 4.14
02. Take The Coltrane (Ellington) 4.42
03. Big Nick (Coltrane) 4.30
04. Stevie (Ellington) 4.22
05. My Little Brown Book (Strayhorn) 5.20
06. Angelica (Ellington) 6.00
07. The Feeling Of Jazz (Troup/Ellington/Simon) 5.34
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John Coltrane – Newport (1961)

FrontCover1For the sake of accuracy though, there was no 1961 Newport Jazz Festival. Seriously. This Coltrane recording is from “Music At Newport, an entirely different one-off event that happened in Newport that summer. Here’s a basic synopsis of what happened (from the Newport Jazz Festival wiki). You can also read about it in depth in George Wein’s highly recommended autobiography.”

In 1960 boisterous spectators created a major disturbance, and the National Guard was called to the scene. Word that the disturbances had meant the end of the festival, following the Sunday afternoon blues presentation headlined by Muddy Waters, reached poet Langston Hughes, who was in a meeting on the festival grounds. Hughes wrote an impromptu lyric, “Goodbye Newport Blues,” that he brought to the Muddy Waters band onstage, announcing their likewise impromptu musical performance of the piece himself, before pianist Otis Spann led the band and sang the Hughes poem.

Presentation of the proper Newport Jazz Festival was disallowed in 1961 due to the difficulty of the previous year’s festival.  In its place, another festival billed as “Music at Newport” was produced by Sid Bernstein in cooperation with a group of Newport businessmen. That festival included a number of jazz musicians but was financially unsuccessful. Bernstein announced that he would not seek to return to Newport in 1962. The Newport Jazz Festival resumed at Freebody Park in 1962. (Stu Hanson)

Thanks to Maurizio (u014945) for sharing these tracks on Dime

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Personnel:
John Coltrane (saxophone)
Art Davis (bass)
Elvin Jones (drums)
McCoy Tyner (piano)
Reggie Workman (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Introductions 1.24
02. Impressions (Coltrane) 6.10
03. Naima (Coltrane) 4.11
04. My Favorite Things (Rodgers/Hammerstein) 15.59

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Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane – At Carnegie Hall (1957 – 2005)

FrontCover1At Carnegie Hall is a live album by The Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane.

It was recorded on 29 November 1957 at “Thanksgiving Jazz”, a benefit concert produced by Kenneth Lee Karpe for the Morningside Community Center in Harlem. Other acts performing included: Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Sonny Rollins, and Chet Baker with Zoot Sims. The recording, by Voice of America, documents two sets by the Monk Quartet with Coltrane that night – an early set (tracks 1-5) and a late set (tracks 6-9), which the recording does not fully document.

The tape was stored at the Library of Congress where it sat untouched, until 2005 when it was discovered by recording lab supervisor Larry Appelbaum. The recording was then restored by producer Michael Cuscuna and T.S. Monk (Thelonious Monk’s son).

The recording has been highly praised: Newsweek called it the “musical equivalent of the discovery of a new Mount Everest,” and Amazon.com editorial reviewer Lloyd Sachs called it “the ultimate definition of a classic”. Soon after its release, it became the #1 best selling music recording on Amazon.com.

The discovery substantially increased coverage of Monk and Coltrane’s partnership; the only other recordings known are The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings CD set (assembled from previously issued albums) and Discovery, believed to document a reunion at the Five Spot café in 1958, recorded on amateur equipment by Coltrane’s first wife. (by wikipedia)

Booklet15Larry Appelbaum, the recording lab supervisor at the Library of Congress, came across this tape by accident while transferring the library’s tape archive to digital. What a find. Forget the Five Spot recording that sounds like it was recorded inside of a tunnel from the far end. The sound here is wonderfully present and contemporary. More importantly, this band — which also included drummer Shadow Wilson and bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik — had it right on November 29, 1957, at Carnegie Hall. The John Coltrane on this date is far more assured than he had been four months earlier on the Five Spot date and on the initial Prestige side Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane. He’d been with Monk for four months and had absorbed his complex, multivalent musical system completely. It’s clear from the opening track, “Monk’s Mood,” where the pair play in duet, that Coltrane is confident and moving into his own. Monk feels that confidence with his nearly Baroque entrance on the tune. This is a hard-swinging band with two front-line players who know how to get the best from one another. Coltrane knows the music inside out and his solos reflect an early version of his sheets of sound methodology. Check the joyous “Crepuscule with Nellie” for the hard evidence. Coltrane’s cue and Monk’s arpeggios are wondrous, swinging, and full of fire and joy. Trane’s fills on the melody that leads into his solo are simply revelatory, and the solo itself is brilliant. Or check Wilson’s cymbal work on “Nutty” before the band kicks it in full force. Even on the knottiest of Monk’s tunes, “Epistrophy,” Trane shines and takes charge of his instrument while being utterly receptive to the continual shape-shifting Monk put into his compositions in a live setting.

Booklet18There are nine tunes here (an incomplete version of “Epistrophy” finishes the set) taken from early and late performances. These 51 minutes of music leave the Live at the Five Spot date in the dust. This is one of those “historic” recordings that becomes an instant classic and is one of the truly great finds in jazz lore. It documents a fine band with its members at the peak of their powers together. The package also contains voluminous liner notes by the likes of Ira Gitler, Amiri Baraka, Ashley Khan, Stanley Crouch, and others. This is a must-have. (by Thom Jurek)

Live2L to R: John Coltrane, Shadow Wilson, Thelonious Monk and Ahmed Abdulmalik at the Five Spot, 1957

Personnel:
John Coltrane (saxophone)
Ahmed Abdul-Malik (bass)
Thelonious Monk (piano)
Shadow Wilson (drums)

LiveTracklist:

Early Show:
01. Monk’s Mood (Monk) 7.52
02. Evidence (Monk) 4.41
03. Crepuscule With Nellie (Monk) 4.26
04. Nutty (Monk) 5.03
05. Epistrophy (Clarke/Monk) 4.29

Late Show:
06. Bye-Ya (Monk)
07. Sweet And Lovely (Daniels/Arnheim/Tobias) 9.34
08. Blue Monk (Monk) 6.32
09. Epistrophy (Incomplete) (Clarke/Monk) 2.24

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John Coltrane & Dizzy Gillespie – Trane’s First Ride 1951 (2013)

FrontCover1Here’s another slice of jazz history.

Thanks to u014945 who uploaded the tracks; and to ShaReeF who shared them at HungerCity.

Uploader’s notes:

Typical of many jazz bootleg LPs, this one contains no dates nor any information beyond song titles and the year of 1951 (despite having a long liner essay by one “E.S.Spoe”). After a good Birdlandbit of research (and matching some of it with my recollections from countless hours of listening to the pedantic, yet informative Phil Schaap on Bird Flight here in New York City weekday mornings on WKCR), I have come up with the following probable list of dates and line-ups.

The venue is always Birldand.

Recorded live at Birdland, NY. Very good radio broadcasts. Ripped from vinyl, slight crackling noises and hiss.
Tracks 01, 02, 03 – January 6, 1951

Tracks 04, 06, 08 – February 3, 1951
Track 05 – January 13, 1951
Track 07 – March 17, 1951

Personnel:
Art Blakey (drums)
John Coltrane (saxophone)
Carl “Kansas” Fields (drums on 07.)
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Percey Heath (bass)
Milt Jackson (vibraphone)
JJ Johnson (trombone on 04., 06. + 08.)
John Lewis (piano on 07.)
Billy Taylor (piano)

TwoGiantsJohn Coltrane & Dizzy Gillespie

Tracklist:
01. Congo Blues (Norvo) 3.06
02. Night in Tunisia (Gillespie/Paparelli) 6.24
03. Yesterdays (Harbach/Kern) 3.06
04. Birk’s Works (Gillespie) 4.50
05. Good Bait (Dameron) 3.33
06. I Can’t Get Started (Gillespie) 2.53
07. Birk’s Works (Air Check 2) (Gillespie) 5.16
08. Jumping With Symphony Sid (Young) 302

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The Branford Marsalis Quartet – Live At Ronnie Scott’s (2001)

FrontCover1You can’t get any slicker than this. Pedigreed players all, in their hands Coltrane’s A Love Supreme doesn’t thunder as much as David Murray’s but exhibits a colder look. Almost a textbook reading of the famous suite, carefully removing any possibility of instigating passion. Even the chant of “a love supreme” is taken out from this reading. As though it would make the players seem like hooligans.

You can also take this as representative of mainstream jazz, almost mummified for museums. The next Coltrane wonÕt be found in a suit and black tie. (by Professor Red)

Recorded ive at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Festival, London, England, November 8, 2001

Personnel:
Joey Calderazzo (piano)
Branford Marsalis (saxophone)
Eric Revis (bass)
Jeff “Tain” Watts (drums)

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Tracklist:

A Love Supreme:
01. Part 1 – Acknowledgement (Coltrane) 8.22
02. Part 2 – Resolution (Coltrane) 11.48
03. Part 3 – Pursuance (Coltrane) 13.03
04. Part 4 – Psalm (Coltrane) 7.56

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