John Coltrane – Coltrane (Impulse! 1962 – DOL/Vinylogy 180g repress)

In the early 90s, this one snuck up on me and, as a result, was one of my first real meetings with jazz of this type. I had read nothing about this album at all before I listened to it. It was at a store and I bought it. It sat in a Foodtown milk crate for a while and one day; I decided it was great. Really great. The price for admission was getting past that 14 minute opening track.

If you like something a little more adventurous than the Atlantic albums – and yet not so way out like what was to come later – you might really like this album. I am not entirely sure, but this might be the first studio album solely by the classic quartet of Tyner-Jones-Garrison-JC. Africa/Brass had other people on it and there was a live album too. Apparently, because of Dolphy, that one was controversial. But this is not a drop back to some safe place. This band sounds both comfortable and adventurous.

Unlike many of my other favorite JC albums, this was a “real” release. Meaning at the time of release, Coltrane recorded songs for it and knew it was coming out. Following Coltrane’s discography is tough, with the only saving grace being that most of them are high quality, anyway. I only mention that because if you are someone who cares about that thing, I can only offer to suggest that maybe you shouldn’t.

This release includes a bonus track on each side. The tracks give us an original by McCoy Tyner and another by Coltrane. I came into this kicking and screaming because I don’t want to change the experience, but I think by not including any more covers or standards, it might make a great album even greater. The jury is still out. I might know in a couple of years.


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