The Best of John Coltrane [Atlantic]

The Best of John Coltrane [Atlantic]

The Best of John Coltrane [Atlantic]

The Best of John Coltrane [Atlantic]


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This pithy yet effective compilation was part of a late-'60s/early-'70s "Best Of..." campaign from Atlantic Records that also boasted single-LP installments from the label's jazz elite, including Mose Allison, Ray Charles, Herbie Mann, Eddie Harris, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Charlie Mingus, Charles Lloyd, Hank Crawford, Ornette Coleman, and David "Fathead" Newman. To modern consumers, the six-song track list may seem a bit wanting. However, Atlantic Records co-founder and jazz aficionado Nesuhi Ertegun knew exactly what he was doing when he gathered the half-dozen prime examples of John Coltrane (tenor sax/soprano sax) at his undisputed peak. If the mandate was to present the artist in as diverse a spectrum as possible, the mission is accomplished with remarkable attention to detail and brevity alike. "My Favorite Things" opens the package with Coltrane on soprano saxophone. He wisely incorporated a widely familiar and accessible tune as an aural entree into his style to the untrained (as it relates to jazz) ear. As such, the recording has probably done more to increase the popularity of modern jazz than any other. The support from McCoy Tyner (piano), Elvin Jones (drums), and Steve Davis (bass) are executed with a steady undercurrent of rugged precision. The ballad "Namia" -- a poetic paean to his wife -- was one of the primary components of the highly recommended Giant Steps (1960) album. Coltrane can be heard at his most stridently cool. So much so that his lead literally hovers above the rest of the ensemble, with Wynton Kelly (piano) occasionally interjecting emphatic and melodic chord voicings. No examination of Coltrane's Atlantic era would be possible without "Giant Steps," as it could well be the biggest "hit" of the entire genre. Coltrane's flurries have rarely been as uniformly on target as they are here. He plays like a man on a definite mission as he, quite simply, redefines the art form by example. In less than five minutes, he demonstrates the enormous potential of the next generation of jazz. "Cousin Mary" is a harbinger of things to come from Coltrane's later phase as his solos would often expand into quarter-hour, half-hour, or longer forms of self-expression. All that, without one superfluous note. Again, McCoy Tyner steps up his game by uncannily placing his compact interpolations with telepathic insight. "Central Park West" is another illustration of Coltrane's haunting romanticism. In doing so, he exposes a wonderfully soulful side to his craft. Particularly enchanting is the warm tonality he infuses into the lines to produce a sound that is practically beyond description due to its simple and evocative beauty.

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Product Details

Release Date: 08/02/2007
Label: Atlantic
UPC: 0075678136627
catalogNumber: 81366
Rank: 89377


  1. My Favorite Things
  2. Naima
  3. Giant Steps
  4. Equinox
  5. Cousin Mary
  6. Central Park West

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