John Coltrane

Complete 1961 Village Vanguard

  • Label Impulse!
  • Genre Jazz
  • Released 07/05/16
  • Cat no 00011105023221

thanks to "my favorite things", john coltrane became a jazz star, and soon received one of the most lucrative contracts ever proffered to a jazz artist when he signed with impulse. there, with the recording of africa/brass in the spring of 1961, coltrane instigated a series of historic sessions that changed the shape of jazz forever. live at the village vanguard marked his first collaboration with producer bob thiele, who realised that coltrane was an obsessive perfectionist in the studio, never satisfied with his performance. by presenting him live, in all his raw, spontaneous glory, on a particularly inspired evening, thiele documented the searching, dangerous quality in coltrane's music. in mccoy tyner, elvin jones and reggie workman, coltrane had found an ideal rhythm section. their earthy vigour, elemental beat and harmonically flexible sensibility transform the simple 3/4 structure of "spiritual" into a dreamy, dancing ritual—coltrane's tenor acting the part of the preacher, while eric dolphy's bass clarinet depicts a parishioner speaking in tongues. pianist tyner adds another dimension with his resolute harmonic cycles, spritely leads and unique chordal clusters, and his playing on "softly as in a morning sunrise" is indicative of the pianist's lyrical quality, setting the stage for coltrane's fervent soprano flight. the saxophonist's sixteen-minute tenor adventure, "chasin' the trane", is the stuff that legends are made of. beginning with an elemental blues riff, coltrane ranges up and down on his horn, expanding upon fragments of the melody, modulating around repeated figures like a blues guitarist, descending into the lower reaches of his horn then rising up to a hollering amen, as jones rises to match each phrase with polyrhythmic fury. coltrane keeps extending his line until he trances out on his own rhythmic incantations, prefiguring a motif from "a love supreme" before dissolving in a series of hair-raising cries and hollers. it is a thrilling performance, as coltrane dances on the razor's edge, naked and exposed—the creative testimony of a great explorer in the throes of the spirit.

  • Genre Jazz
  • Released 07/05/16