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A John Coltrane Retrospective: The Impulse! Years

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Album Review

Each album John Coltrane released on Impulse Records had a specific mood and tone; often, they were sequenced in a specific order to maximize the emotional impact of the music. Consequently, a compilation isn't the best way to hear these records, and Retrospective: Impulse proves that. There's certainly a lot of wonderful, timeless music on this collection, from "Naima" to "Alabama," but this disc isn't the way to appreciate it, since its sequencing doesn't have the same impact or context as the original albums. Some casual fans or curious listeners might use this as an introduction, and it isn't necessarily bad, since it does have an abundence of good music. However, it's not as good an introduction to the Impulse records as the original records themselves.

Customer Reviews

Thank you John!

My words are useless to describe the sheer beauty of this collection. I've owned it for almost 20 years and I always come back to it. Many classical Jazz fans that I encounter want to stay "true" to the artist by listening to the original album sets. Understood, but you cannot go wrong with this collection. Guaranteed. The entire collection is amazing, but I always come back to "Greensleeves" - it feeds my soul. For me, listening to JC is like staring at a Van Gogh with my ears. Thanks John.


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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