Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tim Price Bloggin' for D' Addario Woodwinds- Coltrane / Prestige 7105

THIS...Recording....Coltrane / Prestige 7105...Is my favorite Coltrane recording ever. ( I love all the other Trane records, but this onejust speaks to me. It has for decades too.) Coltrane's career didn't begin when he signed to Impulse! (contrary to what the label sometimes tries to imply), nor did it begin when he signed to Atlantic....John Coltrane recorded so frequently for the Prestige label during '56-'58 that it's tough to figure out where to start. This May 1957 recording, coming just after his departure from the Miles Davis Quintet, is a pretty good initiation; a great session of hard bop with plenty of Coltrane's powerful, intense playing. The album's peaks are two ballads "Violets for Your Furs", "While My Lady Sleeps" -- Coltrane was already an incredible ballad player by this time. The other tracks are all crystallized hard bop of the highest level ever. the rhythm section (Mal Waldron and Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, Al Heath on drums) is excellent, Johnny Splawn (trumpet) and one of my very favorite baritone saxophonists ever Sahib Shihab. Before both of these labels, he was on Prestige recording a bunch of albums which tend to get overlooked nowadays. "Bakai" opens the set and is very close to "Dakar", theme wise,with Shihab laying down an afro-centric beat; Trane and Splawn harmonizing over it. Red Garland slides off a cool,swinging,mood-changing opening solo. Trane solos next,sounding very serious;driving moderately. Shihab's solo comes off LIKE A GEM, containing slight elements of r&b, before the close. "Violets For Your Furs" is a ballad. A premier balladeer, Trane handles the theme. Red gives off a beautiful solo, followed by Trane's warm,sincere expressions. The other horns are not heard. "Time Was" is typical John Coltrane, coming out swinging. An up-tempo track, Trane blows that 'good stuff' so very well. He doesn't do a lot running,here; just cookin'. Paul Chambers and Al Heath keep Red's solo swinging. Paul lays down a pretty sharp solo of his own, before Trane closes. Good track. "Straight Street" < one the the Trane tunes that NEEDS to be played more is a medium-tempo that brings back the rest of the horns. Trane solos first,at ease and steadily flowing. Splawn is next. Johnnie is like too many good trumpeters....underrated. His solo,here,swings with know-how and experience.SO GOOD! Paul and Trane lay down the mood for the hauntingly,bewitching "While My Lady Sleeps", a super-laid-back MONSTER that Trane keeps under rein with the help of Mal Waldron. Excellent song choice. "Chronic Blues" is just that...the blues.Knocks me out of the park with the way they just play. There's some great Coltrane stuff on Prestige, "Settin' The Pace" with a ridiculous Trane solo on "Little Melonae", and some great work by Red Garland, "Lush Life", with a lovely Milesish statement of "Like Someone in Love" and some brilliant drum performances from Art Taylor, particularly on "I Love You". BUT THIS RECORD- Coltrane / Prestige 7105 Has inspired me for over 5 decades...and still does. Right off the bat it's clear that musically Coltrane and his new sextet are on a musical mission of a very different sort than he had been playing with Miles Davis, musically positioning himself somewhere between the internationally expansive hard bop sound and the sound and stepping towards what many call " Post Bop". This is a stellar example of how an artist who has roots and knowledge brings the culture of jazz to an absolute zenith. ~ TIM PRICE

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