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Impressions of Coltrane

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Album Review

Khan Jamal has been active in jazz for decades, though his opportunities to record as a leader have come in spurts. After a relatively quiet decade in the 1990s, things improved dramatically in the first decade of the 21st century for the vibraphonist, especially in this 2008 session for his former label Steeplechase. There have been numerous tributes to John Coltrane since the saxophonist's death in 1967, though relatively few by vibraphonists. Jamal's program consists of seven Coltrane compositions, including a spunky quartet setting of the blues "Cousin Mary" to open the CD. Only two tracks add a saxophonist: tenor saxophonist Odean Pope is a guest on the sassy take of "Blues for P. C." while avoiding sounding like a Coltrane clone, while alto saxophonist Byard Lancaster is added for the snappy take of "Mr. P.C." One oddity is the crediting of "Afro Blue" to Coltrane (as Impulse! also did on an album in which the saxophonist recorded it; Jamal's interpretation cooks very well without the presence of a horn, while pianist Farid Barron matches the leader with an intensity reminiscent of McCoy Tyner. Other highlights of this excellent session include a dreamy setting of "Naima," and an extended workout of "Impressions" that opens with Curtis Lundy's unaccompanied bass. Drummer Edgar Bateman provides a solid foundation for the band throughout the session without ever trying to duplicate the sound of Elvin Jones. Recommended.


Born: July 23, 1946 in Jacksonville, FL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A talented if underrated vibraphonist, Khan Jamal took up the vibes in 1964 and worked early on with the Cosmic Forces and with Byard Lancaster. After further study, Jamal played with Sunny Murray in the late '70s and in the 1980s was with Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society, the bands of Joe Bonner and Billy Bang and his own groups....
Full Bio
Impressions of Coltrane, Khan Jamal
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  • $11.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Rock
  • Released: May 10, 2009

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