Recent listening, current

Sunday, January 27, 2013

17. John Coltrane / Soultrane (1958)

Coltrane's Prestige releases get overlooked unfairly, usually by the same people who prefer his innovative compositions or wilder explorations like those on Blue Train or Giant Steps. But if someone who honestly enjoys jazz can still relegate Soultrane to the sideline after hearing the unbridled modality of "Russian Lullaby" or 10+ minutes of pure soul in Eckstine's "I Want to Talk About You," then maybe that person would be better served by another type of music. The music on Soultrane is stunning, and a great starting point to understand modal soloing in jazz, a ferocious technique that Ira Gitler described as "sheets of sound." Garland, Chambers and Taylor back up Coltrane heroically and have a keen sixth sense for what he is doing. The set is comprised of covers, including a few cooky ones like the aforementioned "Russian Lullaby" or Broadway's "You Say You Care." These bring a strong, focused urgency to the program, a quality that is always present in Coltrane's work but is laid plain in the standards.

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