Jazz?

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Someone who did not use a Gretch drum kit. I'll see if I can find it. It could be Roy Haynes.
edit: damn, hard to find!
 
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Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
I really like the stuff he did under Atlantic. His Impulse material can be perfect when I'm in the right mood.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Hard to point out one period, label or album. If I am forced to pick one label it's gotta be Impulse, which includes his best works with the Classic Quartet.

Shall we try to mention 10 John Coltrane albums we (might) like the most? I am hesitating, because there are so many. ;)
 

Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
1 My Favorite Things
2 Giant Steps
3 Interstellar Space

If we're including albums where he's a sideman, Milestones would probably replace Interstellar Space. That album is awesome.

I like Love Supreme but it never quite clicked with me the way it has for most people.

I need to listen to more Coltrane though. I've heard his "classics", some of his later stuff, and most of what he did with Miles Davis.
 

Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
because of the rhythms?
Pretty much. The interplay between Coltrane and Rashied Ali is really fantastic. The drum playing is intense but also dynamic. I can't think of many albums that feature just tenor sax and drum set, so that was a plus too. The themes are also kinda hidden but show Coltrane's usual harmonic style. Something like Jupiter is melodically not that far from A Love Supreme imo.
But it also helped me understand what free jazz is all about. It's obtuse, but not at the level of obtuseness you'd get with, for example, Ornette Coleman. Jazz is a verbal musical style, improvisation is like a conversation. Free jazz takes out all other elements of Jazz leaving just the conversational element. I didn't understand that until listening to Interstellar Space. Before that it seemed more like cacophony.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
He is on more than 100 albums. For me Crescent and Sun Ship would probably rank in the top 10. Do you do guys know these two albums? Also his work with Monk is interesting.

A Love Supreme would be in my top 10 as well. At some point it gets so intense and still very musical, not too frantic for my taste as in some of his later work. That bass work by Garrison! Pretty cool.

Some nice stuff in the fifties as well e.g. with Mal Waldron, Tadd Dameron, Wilbur Harden or Paul Chambers, to name some.

From his own Prestige albums I rate Coltrane, Lush Life, Dakar and Bahia the highest, I think.

His 1961-1965 live albums are all musthaves imo.

The albums that he (co-)led that I haven't heard yet:

Studio:
The Avant Garde (co-leader Don Cherry). Recorded in 1960.
Cosmic Music. Recorded in 1966 and 1968.
Stellar Regions. Recorded in 1967.
Expression. Recorded in 1967.

Live:
1966-05-28 Live at the Village Vanguard Again! Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali, Emanuel Rahim
1966-07-11, 1966-07-22 Live in Japan Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali
1966-07-22 Concert in Japan Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali
1966-11-11 Offering: Live at Temple University Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Sonny Johnson, Rashied Ali
1967-04-23 The Olatunji Concert: The Last Live Recording Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali

And a couple of Pablo Records live albums.
 
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Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Pretty much. The interplay between Coltrane and Rashied Ali is really fantastic. The drum playing is intense but also dynamic. I can't think of many albums that feature just tenor sax and drum set, so that was a plus too. The themes are also kinda hidden but show Coltrane's usual harmonic style. Something like Jupiter is melodically not that far from A Love Supreme imo.
But it also helped me understand what free jazz is all about. It's obtuse, but not at the level of obtuseness you'd get with, for example, Ornette Coleman. Jazz is a verbal musical style, improvisation is like a conversation. Free jazz takes out all other elements of Jazz leaving just the conversational element. I didn't understand that until listening to Interstellar Space. Before that it seemed more like cacophony.
The interplay by Elvin and Coltrane, now that's interplay. I am not very impressed by Ali's drumming. It sounds like he is messing around on his own, and I hardly hear rhythm. The Interstellar Space album, I can appreciate it for being original. But it's not very musical to me. At least it is not so cacaphonic as in other 1966-1967 work I heard. That stuff lost all subtlety. I miss the driving rhythms but also Coltrane's playing is like a battle between him and Sanders. Who can make the loudest and most annoying noises. A monotone mess, with lots of missing colours.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
One of the famous Elvin Jones/John Coltrane moments, live. Musthave guys!

The mid-1960s represented a period of astonishing creativity for Coltrane, with Crescent, A Love Supreme, Ascension and Sun Ship following hard on each other's heels. Some of the material from this set was issued in a higher-fidelity performance on Impulse's New Thing at Newport. But whatever the audio shortcomings, Coltrane's 30-minute solo on the title track, against Elvin Jones' surging drums, is a tour de force. The set is worth it for that alone, but you also get fresh accounts of 'Trane standbys like Afro Blue and My Favourite Things. Not as jaw-dropping as what it must have been like to be there, but close.

Live at the Half Note: One Down, One Up

Released October 11, 2005
Recorded March 26 and May 7, 1965


Original CD release Live at the Half Note: One Down, One Up (Impulse!).

Disc 1
  1. "Introduction and Announcements" – 1:36
  2. "One Down, One Up" – 27:39
  3. "Announcement" – 0:51
  4. "Afro Blue" – 12:44
Disc 2
  1. "Introduction and Announcements" – 0:43
  2. "Song of Praise" – 19:38
  3. "Announcements" – 0:43
  4. "My Favorite Things" – 22:37
 
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Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
I've heard Sun Ship I think. That's primarily soprano sax work right?
 

JudasMyGuide

...quite like the Jack of Hearts...
I'll have to listen to Trane again (and thank you guys for making me do so), but IIRC, my top 5 used to be

Impressions
Blue Train
A Love Supreme
Ascension
Giant Steps

but that was a long time ago. It'll be possibly different now.

Actually, I have been neglecting jazz lately. Should improve that, I guess. However, when I was a lot into it, Trane was one of my 4 faves, along with Brubeck, Mingus and Corea (I used to consider Django & Grappelli a somewhat separate, different sort).
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
I've heard Sun Ship I think. That's primarily soprano sax work right?
No. The cover photo shows Coltrane playing soprano saxophone, but he only plays tenor on this date.
that live one I never listen to.
:down:
I don't know Sun Ship, why especially that one, Foro?
It's a while ago since I heard it but I remember it struck a chord. A while back I bought a special edition, I still need to hear:
Sun Ship: The Complete Session, a two-CD collection, was released in 2013. On this release, "Amen" appears unaltered, and there are alternative takes of all five tracks, incomplete takes, and sections of some titles.
Here a song with nice bass work in beginning and end. I like that kind of stuff. ;)

Crescent is more than just A Love Supreme's smaller brother. If it is a brother, it is the elder. ;) It came out before and has its own qualities. The Drum Thing is mystical, meditative and haunting!
 
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Forostar

Ancient Mariner
On The Lewis Porter book, I am reading about it, and although many people are very enthousiastic I see that it is a lot about the music. Of course, this is about a musician. But I am not interested in longwinding (music theory) stories about all his phrases and melodies. I am interested in his life, in the musicians he played with. How he worked with Van Gelder. On information on the albums, dates, places, concerts. Etc. etc. How about all this? Is there enough room for these BIOgraphical details, aren't they pushed away too much by musical analysis?
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
That's nice! I like such trivia.

What particularly makes this book so enjoyable is that you can feel Porter is primarily a huge fan
I don't condemn this in particular, but look at this most rated review on Amazon. The reviewer is glad this is not (only/mostly) a portrait by a fan:

John Coltrane - His Life and Music
I have probably read nearly every biography on John Coltrane that is available in the hope of finding writing that is worthy of the scope of this jazz master's genius. Most of the reading I've done has been fairly disappointing...more like glorified fanzine articles rather than serious discussions of the man and his music. Eberhard Jost in his book Free Jazz does do some pretty in-depth analysis of the music of Coltrane, but almost all other books focus more on gossip and life details and leave the musical analysis to vague lofty sounding phrases that have very little meaning on a real level.
So Lewis Porter's book is a breath of fresh air, not just in writing about Coltrane, but also in jazz scholarship in general. Porter's is the first jazz biography I've read that is a really musicological biography and worthy to stand up to the biographies written about classical music figures. Rather than create a portrait with personal meditations, as J.C. Thomas did in Chasin' the Trane, or beating a predetermined ideological drum, as Frank Kofsky did in John Coltrane and the Jazz Revolution of the `60s, or create a fanzine kind of portrait, as Bill Cole did (by far the best of the pre-Porter bios, but still lightweight musically) or create a sort of modern day hagiography, as Eric Nisenson did in Ascension, John Coltrane's Quest, Porter gives us a straight biography, with little personal interjection, and a lot of penetrating insights based on the actual music Coltrane produced.
Porter's book has the benefit of more years of research into Coltrane's life and legacy. Increasingly, as the years since the 60s have worn on, it has become clear that the influence of Coltrane is perhaps the biggest single influence on all facets of jazz, arguably equaling or maybe even exceeding the influence of Charlie Parker. His is certainly the most all-pervading voice since Bird and the influence doesn't seem to be waning as the millennium turns. Porter's book relies on the best of the earlier biographies. He quotes Thomas and Cole with some frequency. But he also relies on a welter of recorded interviews with Trane, interviews with those who knew Trane, and with surviving family members, including much precious information about Trane's early years from his cousin Mary and from many of his childhood and Philly friends. The picture that emerges is not radically different than the picture we get from earlier biographies. All of the elements of the Coltrane mystique are there; the obsessive practicing, the drive to succeed, the drug addicted years, the dramatic kicking of the habit, the later search for musical and spiritual Truth, and the sudden and tragic death. But devoid of interpretation, these facts loose some of the legend surrounding them. To me, this can only be a good thing. Coltrane would not have wanted the worship that has developed around him. The details of Trane's life as outlined by Porter show a man who was deeply gifted, haunted by childhood loss, driven to perfect his art, and yet also daunted by lingering addictions and the physical havoc that he had played on his body early in his life. This Trane is no less worthy of honor than the legendary Trane, and a bit more loveable and human.
Where the Porter biography has it over all others is in the copious musical examples. Porter analyzes many recorded solos in detail, including Giant Steps, My Favorite Things, a Love Supreme, and perhaps most impressively Venus, from Coltrane's last recorded album. Porter's skill as a musicologist is quite impressive and a gift that is rarely given to jazz literature. He analyzes Trane's changing improvisational technique, from the early "sheets of sound" period, where pattern after pattern of complex, harmonically based scales are piled over chords, to the more melodically based modal material, based on the manipulation of short melodic cells. Porter gives us a glimpse into the mind of a genius here, showing the amazing logical processes behind Coltrane's font of inspiration. Also, for those who don't want this type of musical analysis, the chapters are located at dramatic breaks in the biography, and are easily skipped without loss of any significant information. This makes the book still accessible for the non-musician.
This is not a perfect book. Porter does occasionally make himself known as an author, something which is not usual in scholarly biographies. This usually happens when he interjects the phrase, in my opinion. It's not a real fault, but in a book of such scholarly aspirations, these comments probably should have been edited out or reworded so that they didn't jar quite as much. More serious is the chapter that discusses the medical issues with Trane's death. Much nonsense has circulated about Trane's death, which Porter attempts to correct. Unfortunately, he does so with poorly drawn medical arguments. For instance, cirrhosis of the liver has very little if anything to do with liver cancer, and while he is correct that for cirrhosis to occur the patient has to be an active alcoholic or drug abuser, some studies indicate liver cancer can be affected by abuser, even years after the patient stops using. The causes of Trane's death are probably complex and may never be fully explained, but Porter should have checked his medical sources a bit more carefully or steered clear of this potential minefield.
But despite those fairly small points, this is a major step forward in Coltrane scholarship and in the whole field of Jazz Studies. Porter has set a new high for jazz writing; one that I hope will be met by a new crop of scholars. If any American art form deserves this kind of scrutiny, jazz is it.
 
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