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The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings (Live)

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Editors’ Notes

While it was Ornette Coleman who had an album entitled The Shape of Jazz to Come, this landmark live album literally fits the bill as well. In 1961 the world saw Coltrane as the new star of bebop and modal jazz, but the music here—featuring his classic quartet augmented with reedist Eric Dolphy and others—was pushing the creative envelope in directions Coltrane would more fully explore in the studio from 1965 to 1967. It’s also worth noting that the multiple versions of “Spiritual,” “Impressions,” “India,” and “Chasin’ the Train” are fascinatingly varied, as the leader switched personnel and explored different ideas from night to night.

Customer Reviews

Amazing but....

This set is incredible...but you'd be doing yourself a mistake to not buy this as a box set in a actual store. The packaging is incredible and also gives linear notes for the whole session. Great Coltrane and Dolphy.

A Monument to Music

This is, quite simply, some of the best music ever recorded. Coltrane is pure genius on these recordings and - to my ears - Eric Dolphy is even better. These recordings were made over four nights as candidates for inclusion on the record Live at The Village Vanguard (1961). These are the full tapes that the album was culled from. I have been listening to them for ten years and have not even digested them yet.

For me, the two songs recorded on the last date are the major prize here. The other music is genius too, but these last two tracks are monuments. They had gotten enough tape in the can the previous nights that the record could be completed from. Apparently the musicians were being conservative for the first three dates because they absolutely let loose on this date on versions of India and Spiritual. India is a driving force here, harder than hard rock. The iTunes song preview here is the intro, setting up the theme, not any part of the twelve minute long solos, though you can here Dolphy come in briefly. At the end of Coltrane's solo (or is it Dolphy's?) Coltrane trills down low and Dolphy comes in with a fluttering, whirling, rising entrance topped off with a honk. Unbelievable stuff. There are more musical ideas expressed here than most musicians think of in their entire lives. On Spirtual, the band finds twenty minutes of improvisation. At the ten minute mark Coltrane produces a mezmerizing, unique improvisation that sounds to me like a bird fluttering and taking off. How he gets these sounds from a saxophone I will never understand. Beyond incredible.

Don't tell me you have heard genius until you have heard these recordings.

the best jazz album ever

I dont have much to say,it is in my opinion the best and most intresting jazz recording ever for all jazz lovers and others to:)


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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