John Coltrane – Live At The Village Vanguard … The Master Takes (1962 + 1998)

OriginalFrontCover1.jpgColtrane “Live” at the Village Vanguard is the tenth album by jazz musician John Coltrane and his first live album, released in 1962 on Impulse Records, catalogue A-10. It is the first album to feature the members of the classic quartet of himself with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones. In contrast to his previous album for Impulse!, this one generated much turmoil among both critics and audience alike with its challenging music.

In 1961, Coltrane created controversy both with the hiring of Eric Dolphy and with the kind of music his band was playing. In reaction to the Quintet’s residency at the Village Vanguard in New York City starting in late October 1961, Down Beat critic John Tynan described the group as “musical nonsense being peddled in the name of jazz” and “a horrifying demonstration of what appears to be a growing anti-jazz trend.” European critics and audiences also had difficulty with appearances earlier in the year, finding the group’s music, especially that of Coltrane and Dolphy, puzzling and difficult to follow. Down Beat magazine editor Don DeMichael took the step of inviting the pair to defend themselves, a piece appearing in the April 12, 1962 issue entitled “John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy Answer the Critics”.

It was the idea of new producer Bob Thiele to record Coltrane live over four nights in early November, Thiele meeting the saxophonist for the first time face-to-face at the club.[5] This commenced a close working relationship between Thiele and Coltrane that would last for the rest of his time at Impulse, Thiele producing virtually every subsequent album. Thiele secured Coltrane’s trust right away by not insisting he record his most popular song, “My Favorite Things”, during these shows. Sound engineer Rudy Van Gelder set up his equipment at a table by the stage, and for these concerts Coltrane often enhanced the Quintet by adding tampura, contrabassoon, oboe, or a second bass.

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Three performances were chosen for the album, one a pop standard and a second entitled “Spiritual”, possibly an adaptation of “Nobody Knows de Trouble I See” published in The Book of American Negro Spirituals by James Weldon Johnson. The third selection, the blues “Chasin’ the Trane”, has been described as one of the most important recordings in jazz for its seeming ability to unify the approaches of free jazz, jamming, and neoclassicism. As to its genesis, in a 1966 interview Coltrane recalled that he had “listened to John Gilmore kind of closely before I made ‘Chasin the Trane’.”

The performances are quintet for “Spiritual”, quartet for “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise”, and trio for “Chasin’ the Trane”. These were Reggie Workman’s final recordings with the group, as by December 1961 Garrison was announced as his replacement, stabilizing a line-up that would remain constant for the next four years.

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Pursuant to the article by Coltrane and Dolphy, for the following April 26 issue Down Beat presented two reviews of Live! at the Village Vanguard, both focusing on “Chasin’ the Trane”. Pete Welding described it as “a torrential and anguished outpouring, delivered with unmistakable power, conviction, and near-demonic ferocity.”[16] On the other hand, Ira Gitler, who had coined the phrase “sheets of sound”, stated that “Coltrane may be searching for new avenues of expression, but if it is going to take this form of yawps, squawks, and countless repetitive runs, then it should be confined to the woodshed.”

Two additional recordings taken from these shows appeared on the album Impressions, “Impressions” and “India”. On September 23, 1997, Impulse! issued a box set The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings, with the sets from all four nights chronologically on four compact Discs (later this year in this blog !). (by wikipedia)

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This set documents the four-night stand by John Coltrane (sax) and his quintet at the Village Vanguard in New York City, November 1 — 5, 1961. Although these are not newly discovered tapes — as the majority of the selections have turned up on no less than five separate releases — their restoration is significant in assessing motifs in Coltrane’s [read: multi-show] live appearances. Coltrane is accompanied by an all-star ensemble of Eric Dolphy (alto sax/bass clarinet), Garvin Bushell (oboe/contrabassoon), Ahmed Abdul-Malik (oud), McCoy Tyner (piano), Jimmy Garrison (bass), Reggie Workman (bass), Elvin Jones (drums), and Roy Haynes (drums). Their presence is as equally vital as Coltrane’s — inspiring as well as informing the dimensions of improvisation. With the knowledge that the entire run was being documented to create some sort of retail document, Coltrane chose nine specific compositions to concentrate on. The choice of material likewise had a tremendous impact on the personnel of the band — evidenced by Bushnell’s contributions during “Spiritual” and Abdul-Malik’s within the context of the extended “India.” (by Lindsay Planer)

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Personnel:
John Coltrane (saxophone)
Eric Dolphy (clarinet on 01. + 04,)
Jimmy Garrison (bass on 03.  + 05.)

Elvin Jones (drums)
McCoy Tyner (piano)
Reggie Workman (bass on 01., 02. + 04.)

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Tracklist:
01. Spiritual (Coltrane) 13.48
02. Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise (Romberg/Hammerstein) 6.40
03. Chasin’ The Trane (Coltrane) 16.10
04. India (Coltrane) 14.03
05. Impressions (Coltrane) 14.53

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John Coltrane (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967)

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Various Artists – Tenor Sax Ballads (Priceless Jazz Collection) (1999)

FrontCover1GRP has cobbled together a set of performances from labels it now has under its umbrella, such as Impulse and Cadet, as well as from albums released under its own name. There’s no intent here to put together a survey of the development of the tenor saxophone. Rather, this album is an unabashed effort to attract those who celebrate good tenor sax playing in general, and ballad sax in particular — and it works. If there were a hall of fame for tenor sax players, all the performers present on this disc would have been inaugural inductees. Coleman Hawkins, the first true tenor sax improviser, is represented with “Solitude” and “Mood Indigo” from the memorable recording he made with Duke Ellington; an added treat on “Solitude” is the fine violin playing of Ray Nance. John Coltrane’s inimitable ballad style is put on display with “You Don’t Know What Love Is” and “It’s Easy to Remember,” an effort by the Impulse label to make Coltrane more “popular” with jazz fans. The playing of the tenor saxophone’s psalm, “Body and Soul,” is awarded to Paul Gonsalves, who follows the improvisational path that Hawkins took on his 1939 recording. Ben Webster, James Moody, Sonny Stitt, Illinois Jacquet, and the soul-laden horn of Stanley Turrentine are also present.

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Turrentine’s rendition of “Deep Purple” is a highlight of the album, as is Jacquet’s languid rendering of “You’re My Thrill.” A priceless set of performances by major practitioners of the tenor saxophone. Heartily recommended. (by Dave Nathan)

If you love tenor sax and music from the ’40s and ’50s and prefer melody, this is the CD for you.

It´s time to discover all these great jazz musicins from the past … timeless music !

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Tracklist:
01. Ben Webster: Stardust (Carmichael/Parish) 2.27
02. Duke Ellington & Coleman Hawkins: Solitude (DeLange/Ellington /Mills) 5.54
03. John Coltrane: You Don’t Know What Love Is (DePaul/Raye) 5.15
04. Paul Gonsalves: Body And Soul (Eyton/Green/Heyman/Sour) 5.27
05. Sonny Stitt: I’m Getting Sentimental Over You (Bassman/Washington) 4.18
06. Duke Ellington: Single Petal Of A Rose (Webster) 3.21
07. Stanley Turrentine: Deep Purple (DeRose/Parish) 4.51
08. Duke Ellington & Coleman Hawkins:  Mood Indigo (Bigard/Ellington/Mills) 5.58
09. John Coltrane:  It’s Easy to Remember (Hart/Rodgers) 2.48
10. Illinois Jacquet: You’re My Thrill (Gorney/Lane/Washington) 3.50
11. Ben Webster: Over The Rainbow (Arlen/Harburg) 4.45
12. James Moody: Don’t Blame Me (Fields/McHugh) 4.31

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Stanley Turrentine

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)

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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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