Coltrane Quartet Suggestions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David Albrecht, Aug 20, 2002.

  1. David Albrecht

    David Albrecht Stunt Coordinator

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    I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations & suggestions for starting a collection of Coltrane centered around the 1960s and the classic quartet.

    I am leaning toward picking up "The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings" first... but was wondering were to go from there?

    I've noticed that most studio albums have several versions released. For instance you got the ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED, the DELUXE EDITION, and now the 20 BIT MASTERING version. I would be more interested in quality over quantity when it comes to the studio titles, so any first hand experience would be appreciated.
     
  2. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    There's a new Coltrane Hybrid SACD. I forget the title...? It's been out-of-stock when I've tried to order it. I saw it at either at www.elusivedisc.com or www.acouticsounds.com
    I plan to get it sometime, hopefully soon. Best wishes!
     
  3. luke j. chung

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    The new Coltrane Hybrid SACD is "A Love Supreme", Rachael![​IMG]
     
  4. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Ah, it's threads like this that make me proud to be a member of HTF. [​IMG]

    FYI, I'm a huge Coltrane fanatic, so stop me if I babble...

    I just did a search on elusivedisc and found one hybrid SACD:

    STANDARD COLTRANE


    Quote:



    Release Date: August 30th, 2002 preorder your copy today! Orders with both preorder and instock items will have all instock items shipped immediately!

    John Coltrane brought a new sound and style to jazz, and he applied it in his own unique way to the standard material of the storehouse of American music gathered from Broadway, Hollywood, and Tin Pan Alley. With the excellent rhythm team of Red Garland, Paul Chambers (both of whom had done so many concert, club, and recording dates with him), and Jimmy Cobb, and the Miles-directed flugelhorn of Wilbur Harden, Trane puts his personal stamp on numbers not done that often–Henry Nemo's "Don't Take Your Love from Me" and Fred Ahlert's "I'll Get By"; and two more familiar yet still not overdone songs, Richard Rodgers's "Spring Is Here" and Bronislau Kaper's "Invitation."

    The analog transfer on this SACD was done using the third-generation Analog-to-DSD converters by Ed Meitner at EMM Labs. They were specially-modified for The Mastering Lab and Doug Sax.

    Selections: Don't Take Your Love from Me, I'll Get By, Spring Is Here, Invitation.







    And I didn't even know about this one!
    This rhythm section played for Miles Davis during his most famous recordings (though not at the same time). Red Garland and Paul Chambers were in the "first" quintet, which also featured Coltrane (and drummer Philly Joe Jones) and produced the classic albums Cookin' and Round About Midnight. Cobb, Chambers, and Coltrane, along with Cannonball Adderley and Wynton Kelly (and sometimes Bill Evans) created the legendary Kind of Blue.

    My point? Even though I've never heard it, this just has to be a great album. I'll definitely be ordering it.

    A Love Supreme is one of those albums that are rumored but certainly not out yet nor is it confirmed, I believed. To me, it's one of those, "I'll believe it when it's in my grubby little hands."
    Of all the rumoured released on high-res, this is definitely my most desired title.

    Ok, onto the quartet...
    This is arguably Coltrane's best work. While he did some amazing stuff with various groups, including some quartet sessions, the "classic" Coltrane quartet refers to:

    drums- Elvin Jones, who is simply one of the most powerful drummers of all time. His volcanic eruptions behind the kit was the primal and animalistic force propelling the improvisations of the rest of the group. Polyrhythms, rim hits, thundering kick- it's all there.

    bass- Jimmy Garrison, the unsung hero of the group (alas, the plight of the bass players). I can't even imagine what it means to anchor down that group.

    piano- McCoy Tyner. Leaning heavily on chords and playing in a percussive style, I consider him the next logical step after Thelonious Monk. His solo career has been very rich as well- highly recommended.

    The Impulse! record label is the place to find all the work of this group. Here's a quick rundown of some albums.

    Live at the Village Vanguard- Coltrane at this time was doing extra-long solo workouts, so don't be surprised to see track lengths of 15 or 20 minutes. There is an album of this name which has a few tracks, another one called "More from the Vanguard," or something like that, and a couple of tracks from those concerts on the Impressions album. Those three albums all have different music. If you want one disc of that music, get the one called "Master Takes," which has one version of each of the big tunes he did- Impressions, Spiritual, My Favorite Things, India, etc.
    If you're feeling adventurous and willing to spend some some extra dough, I simply cannot recommend the Complete box set enough. Don't be intimidated by the repeat titles- each version is different. I couldn't even begin to count how many versions of My Favorite Things and Impressions I own, and I cherish them all.
    Note also the Eric Dolphy played flute on some tracks. Coltrane wanted to add him to the group, but it didn't work out. Now that would have been something.

    Complete Africa / Brass- the first studio album for Impulse! features a big brass band with the quartet. A highly unusual and interesting session. The different versions of Africa are a real trip. Very cool album.

    The next few albums were a result of both the label's desire to market Coltrane as a more accessible artist (as opposed to the dense experimental work he had been doing) and, supposedly, Coltrane's own desire to get back to more direct playing.

    Coltrane- yes, that's the name of the album. This features the quartet doing some more "normal" originals, but with virtuoso playing. Highlights are Tunji, Out of this World, Miles' Mode, and the very cute sounding Inch Worm.

    Ballads- The titles pretty much says it all. Coltrane's ballad playing has always been overshadowed by his more insane stuff, but if you look at his recordings, he has always tackled the ballads and has only improved. I'm not a big fan of ballads in general, but he does a fine job with these.

    Coltrane and Ballads have each been re-released with a second disc (these would be the "deluxe" editions) which mostly consist of many alternate takes. I don't hear much of a difference in sound between the regular and deluxe versions, but I don't have a good ear for that sort of thing. A good thing about them is that you get his most famous version of Greensleeves, which was never on an album and could previously be heard only on box sets and compilations.

    To the best of my knowledge, none of the rest of the albums have multiple CD versions.

    With Johny Hartman- Hartman was an old-fashioned crooner. This album is a bunch of ballads. It sounds very dated and this kind of singing sounds cheesy to modern ears, and I never particularly liked Hartman, especially after hearing those awful singles he made with Dizzy Gillespie. I own it because I'm an obsessive collector, but I'd recommend you stay away from this one.

    With Duke Ellington- You might think that a collaboration with these two legends would make a great record- and you'd be right! Coltrane plays very respectfully, deferring to Duke tastefully but not hesitantly. A very pleasant listen.

    Crescent- Here, the polite Coltrane starts to play less of a role. I consider this to be the first truly great Coltrane Quartet album. Consisting of all originals, the highlight is Lonnie's Lament. The album ends with some vicious Jones drumming.

    John Coltrane Quartet Plays- I swear, some of these album names just piss me off. Of course they "play!" Yech.
    Anyway, this album has the fantastic original Brazilia. The first track, Chim Chim Chiree, is indeed the tune from Marry Poppins. I guess he had so much success with another Disney tune, My Favorite Things, that he tried to repeat the formula. It worked musically but not commercially.
    Another great record. The themes now serve as only an intro and the focus, like on the Vanguard stuff, is on the improvs. Coltrane was getting back into pissing people off and playing his guts out.

    A Love Supreme- this is the classic, the legend, the Great Coltrane Album. Listening to it makes decreases your cholesterol and increases your sperm count. It gives you higher gas mileage and makes you more attractive to lingerie models.
    Consisting of only three long tracks, this is some of the most viceral, honest, and emotional playing ever recorded. It's basically a musical prayer, and you can hear the reaching and yearning in the music. It's frightening and glorious. If you have to get one Coltrane album, get this one.
    There's a regular release, which looks like all the other Impulse! records, and one that comes with a grey slipcase as part of some "Desert Island" series. My understanding is that they're exactly the same.

    Transition- An aptly titled album and one of the lesser known Coltrane albums. Here, Coltrane is getting into extended suites and atonal explorations, beginning to focus more on the general sound impression of the music collectively, rather than focusing on individual notes or melodies, the kind of thing he would do for the rest of his life, alienating many listeners.
    I think it's great, but it's not for everyone. If you do become interested in Coltrane's later work, this is a good place to start. The last track, a drum/sax duet, is fantastic. Some of this music is on other CDs, but I like having this album.

    Living Space- Contains tracks issued after his death, it's not considered essential but definitely a worthwhile album to have for those interested in his adventurous work.

    Sun Ship- the last quartet album and a brilliant one at that. This album strikes and interesting balance between atonal soundscapes and melodic expression. Ascent and Amen are a couple of real musical powerhouses. I consider it an essential album.

    First Meditations- this was released after his death. It serves primarily as a companion album to Meditations, which featured extra musicians and was very dense and experimental. This is an earlier version of the same music performed only by the quartet. The music is easier to get into and it's great to hear for anyone who has Meditations. I feel exposes the compositions for the masterpieces they truly are, which can get lost in the squeaking and squonking of the Meditations album- both are great, just different ways of attacking the same music.

    There are, of course, a number of compilations as well, including a box set of the complete studio recordings. If you get that and the Complete Village Vanguard, you should have pretty much everything the quartet did, excluding the European concerts.

    Oh, yeah, that reminds me: there are a bunch of albums of concerts recorded in Europe. I personally recommend just getting the Live In Europe box set- it's easier and you get more stuff. The sound quality isn't always so hot, but the music is.

    There's also a Live at Blackbird album, which was done early in the quartet's history and is excellent.

    Hmm... let's see, what else... oh yeah, Live In Japan, which I don't have yet.

    Whew, that should cover it.

    Of course, there is an ass-load of genius music before and after the quartet, but that's a whole other story...

    Have fun!


    NP: Jethro Tull, Living in the Past
     
  5. David Albrecht

    David Albrecht Stunt Coordinator

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    First off thanks Rachael for the info on the SACD... that's great. That would be the way to go on "A Love Supreme".

    Second, thanks for the extended ramble Mike. Much appreciated, lots of great/funny/informative insights. Just the kind of primer information I was hoping for. Very cool.
     
  6. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  7. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    STANDARD COLTRANE is the one I was referring to David. When it's in stock I'm there. A LOVE SUPREME would be nice sometime when it happens. Best wishes! [​IMG]
     
  8. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    STANDARD COLTRANE is the one I was referring to David. When it's in stock I'm there. A LOVE SUPREME would be nice sometime when it happens. Best wishes! [​IMG]
     
  9. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    STANDARD COLTRANE is the one I was referring to David. When it's in stock I'm there. A LOVE SUPREME would be nice sometime when it happens. Best wishes! [​IMG]
     
  10. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    STANDARD COLTRANE is the one I was referring to David. When it's in stock I'm there. A LOVE SUPREME would be nice sometime when it happens. Best wishes! [​IMG]
     
  11. David Albrecht

    David Albrecht Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for clearing that up Rachael. I noticed on Amazon they have the Standard Coltrane SACD being released Sept 10, 2002.
    Mike, makes sense not to wait... and with all the unintended beneifits, how could I go wrong.
    By the way, I just picked up a used copy of the Complete Village Vanguard for $1.09 with a trade in... I hope its worth it...[​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  12. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  13. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    My earlier reply was in quadrafonic![​IMG]
     

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