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One Down, One Up: Live At the Half Note

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Serious sax players and jazz fans have studied bootlegs of these performances since the late ‘60s. Now the rest of us can get in on the education. Culled from two 1965 appearances at New York’s Half Note club, these songs were originally recorded for a jazz radio program. The quartet regularly used this small venue (capacity 130) to stretch out in a big way, and they weren’t about to restrain themselves for the sake of a live radio audience. The producer simply rolled the tape for the 45 minutes he needed for each broadcast, then shut off the machine. As a result, the first album captures less than half of the legendary “One Down, One Up” (though over 27 minutes are included here) and “Afro-Blue” and “My Favorite Things” fade out mid-solo. No matter. Such necessary editing does not detract from the music; instead, it reinforces how fortunate we are to have access to these tapes at all.

Recorded shortly after the release of A Love Supreme and just months before the dissolution of this classic quartet, featuring pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones, the musicians are at the apex of their incendiary four-year collaboration. For proof, listen to the interplay between Coltrane and Jones on the title track, Tyner’s solo on “Song of Praise,” and the quartet’s unrivaled fluidity and endurance throughout. Coltrane is adventurous and aggressive here, yet rooted just enough to keep from launching into the stratosphere. “Lost” recordings don’t always live up to their own mythology. These do.

Customer Reviews

One Down, One Up - Live At the Half note

This is John Coltrane playing on a plane that is unbelievable. If you haven't listened to John Coltrane or much modal jazz then this would be a difficult introductory listen, but if you have then I would say buy it because this quartet, on this night, was on fire!

These newly released recordings are a must own for any fan of Jazz.

Coltrane is the epitome of itensity. And these recordings only prove that more.

Intense and hypnotic!

Trane, Elvin, McCoy and Jimmy go all out on this '65 live set. Not the wild and wooly "OM" or the stuff from '66 and '67, this is still slightly grounded in post-bop conventions. Should be in your Trane collection. Peace.


Born: September 23, 1926 in Hamlet, NC

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s

Despite a relatively brief career (he first came to notice as a sideman at age 29 in 1955, formally launched a solo career at 33 in 1960, and was dead at 40 in 1967), saxophonist John Coltrane was among the most important, and most controversial, figures in jazz. It seems amazing that his period of greatest activity was so short, not only because he recorded prolifically, but also because, taking advantage of his fame, the record companies that recorded him as a sideman in the 1950s frequently reissued...
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