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Live At the Village Vanguard/The Master Takes

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iTunes Review

Culled from recordings made over five consecutive nights in November 1961, this album captures a pivotal time in John Coltrane’s development as a bandleader. The lineup varies from song to song but each number works supremely well for different reasons. Coltrane is joined by Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet on “Spiritual” and “India,” McCoy Tyner plays piano on all but “Chasin’ the Train,” Reggie Workman and Jimmy Garrison split the bass duties, and the great Elvin Jones is the drummer throughout. Beginning with the haunting and heavy opener, “Spiritual,” the album includes a wide range of tones and feelings, from the bop-inflected “Softly As in a Morning Sunrise,” featuring a particularly dazzling solo by Tyner, to the driving and exploratory “India” and “Impressions.” Arguably the apex of the album in terms of raw intensity is a version of “Chasin’ the Trane,” an astonishing display of ideas and endurance on which Coltrane and Dolphy exchange impassioned and fiercely wailing solos as Garrison and Jones supply an unflagging and fluid rhythm for sixteen incendiary minutes. Overall Coltrane’s extended solos are adventurous and probing, yet they still swing; his atonal voyages into the free-jazz stratosphere were still a few years off at that point. Powerful and thrilling, this jaw-dropping collection is a must for all Coltrane fans.

Customer Reviews

Excellent Coltrane in live session

This is another example of lyrical Coltrane and Company in live session...a must have if you want the live sessions of this great artist. The engineer can be heard riding gain, which at one point gets away from him, but live is live and this album is a pretty direct transfer technically. The music flows and the energy is what you buy live tracks for. Get this as part of your Coltrane trek!

Coltrane talks to the universe

Maybe this is the start of "World" music. In any case, this is Jazz beginning to transcend itself, becoming something "other", a new genre, a new vocabulary of music and sound and harmony. There is still a sense of "blues" or "soul" here, rooted in the African-American experience. But, Coltrane would soon leave even those behind. A truly great record. e = coltrane x speed of thought.

One of the best coltrane live albums

this is the village vanguard live master takes recorded in 1961 in New York City-a great recording hands down


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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