JOHN COLTRANE - COLTRANE
Here's my first Coltrane post for this blog and it's from his modal phase - between the bop of the 50's and his later avant-garde sessions for Impulse! before his death in 1967. The line-up needs no introduction - Coltrane with his 'sheets of sound' on sax, the powerful Elvin Jones on drums, the expressive Jimmy Garrison on bass and the mighty McCoy Tyner on piano.
It kicks off with 14 minute modal sprawl of Harold Arlen's 'Out of This World' (a Coltrane favourite and a tune he would revisit for pretty much the rest of his life). Over a slinky, mantra like 6/8 groove, the saxophonist unwinds two long solos that alternate keening, soulful lines with sudden flurries of notes or cranked up overblowing.
Tyner's limpid chording is economical, percussive and sleekly propulsive; on the album's only ballad, Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes" he takes a short but delicate solo sandwiched between the leader's passionate statements. Though there are moments of intensity, the material here is cooler than the firestorms the quartet would be starting in a year or two on (or were already cooking up in performance).
"Inchworm" is another 6/8 modal outing; perhaps Coltrane was going for another "My Favourite Things" with this adaption of Frank Loesser's tune (first sung by Danny Kaye in the film Hans Christian Andersen). More substantial is the slow, dark swing of "Tunji", featuring a sonorous solo feature from Garrison.
This is ripped from the original Impuse vinyl as is the Michael White lp from the previous post