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Afro Blue Impressions

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John Coltrane (1926-67) was the most relentlessly exploratory musician in jazz history. He was always searching, seeking to take his music further in what he quite consciously viewed as a spiritual quest. In terms of public recognition, this quest began relatively late. The tenor saxophonist, a native of North Carolina who later moved to Philadelphia, was 28 when he joined the Miles Davis ... Read more in Amazon's John Coltrane Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Pablo
  • ASIN: 5550713896
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,179,241 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By yerblues on 31 Aug. 2011
Format: Audio CD
This double cd was recorded during a European tour in 1963. The John Coltrane Quartet:John Coltrane (tenor/soprano sax), McCoy Tyner (piano), Elvin Jones (drums) and Jimmy Garrison (Bass) - are on fire throughout. The sound quality is great and the performances are certainly up there with the 'Live at Birdland (1963)' and 'Village Vanguard (1961)' concerts. For some reason 'Afro Blue Impressions' is not as well known. I have numerous Coltrane recordings but this one had aluded me until recently.

Disc 1:
Lonnie's Lament (10.07)
Naima (7.58)
Chasing the Trane (5.41)
My Favourite Things (21.02)
(total running time: 44.08)

Disc 2:
Afro Blue (7.34)
Cousin Mary (9.54)
I want to talk about you (8.15)
Spiritual (12.16)
Impressions (11.30)
(total running time: 48.49)

This is the John Coltrane Classic quartet at their most accessible - combining sheer power, emotion and lyricism - before the freer jazz explorations and Pharoah Sanders period of 1965 and beyond took hold...

Recommended without reservation!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By degrant on 9 April 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There is an increasing flood of live Coltrane, some blighted by one or more of poor sound, indifferent performances, misleading liner notes and/or unjustified cost. This, by comparison, is an excellent, brief (by Coltrane's standards) account of the Classic Quartet in 1963 with the benefit of concise, focused and enlightening liner notes. Jimmy Garrison's bass, often the victim of amateur recordings and/or the double horn and/or double percussion assault of post-Classic quartet performances is to the fore and, in addition to live staples such as "Naima", "My Favorite Things" and "Impressions", we have rare performances of "Lonnie's Lament" and "Cousin Mary".

The performance of "My Favorite Things" is first rate, even if does not quite justify the tag of "finest ever" described to it by some reviewers and the coda to "I Want to Talk About You" bewitching but the highlight for me is "Spiritual" which, apart from the four variations on "the Complete Village Vanguard", is hard to trace. It starts off in full intensity - Coltrane's declamation echoing against Elvin Jones's massive drum roll - but then gives way to a touching swing rendered with a felicity of touch. The album concludes with a focused take on "Impressions" with some of Tyner's best piano playing and Coltrane (presumably) lightly vocalising a la Keith Jarrett before his entry some 5 minutes in. The sustained excellence over these two discs has rarely been bettered and "Afro Blue Impressions" should be one of the first live purchases of any Coltrane fan.
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By Mr. R.D.Warburton on 6 Dec. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Great recordings from John Coltrane's tour of Europe in 1963. Dazzling performance from the quartet who recorded A Love Supreme.
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By Bo Hansson on 31 July 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Nice with much better sound now
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 28 reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Essential live Coltrane 9 Dec. 1999
By Adam Gogolak - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This album has for years been a second-class citizen to its more famous cousins from Birdland and the Village Vanguard, however this is truly a must have for Coltrane fans. The energy of performance and synergy of the players epitomizes the quality of this quartet. The highlights include a blasting performance of the not often performed "Cousin Mary" and a vintage performance of "I Want to Talk About You" whose coda excedes the perforances at Birdland. Tyner is in top form, but the finest moments are between Coltrane and Elvin Jones whose ferocity matches perfectly with Coltrane throughout. Overall, I have many Coltrane CD's, including the complete Vanguard box set, and I find myself playing this one the most.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Doesn't get the respect it deserves 9 Mar. 2002
By m_noland - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This recording of Coltrane's classic early 1960s quartet (Trane, plus McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, and by this point, Jimmy Garrison on bass) just doesn't get the attention it deserves, overshadowed by "Live At the Village Vanguard." It contains arguably Coltrane's finest performances of "My Favorite Things" and "Naima," as well as fine performances of less frequently heard material such as Mongo Santamaria's "Afro-Blue" and Billy Eckstein's "I Want to Talk About You" (Trane's cadenza on that last one it simply astonishing). As several other reviewers have noted, Tyner's playing is particularly strong on these performances as well.
Unless you are a completist, get this recording and the "Live In Stockholm" disk with Eric Dolphy and save some money by skipping the "Live in Europe" box.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Monumental Live Recording from '63 12 Mar. 2006
By Christopher Calabrese - Published on
Format: Audio CD
1963 was an important year for the John Coltrane quartet. It was a year of transition for the group, because it bridged the gap between his older "sheets of sound" recordings like GIANT STEPS and SOULTRANE and his avant-garde recordings in the years to follow. Just several months later, Coltrane would release the lovely CRESCENT album as well as the landmark, A LOVE SUPREME, where Coltrane takes his music to a new level. In the summer of '63 Coltrane performed at the Newport Jazz Festival with his regular quartet, except with Roy Haynes on drums, as opposed to Elvin Jones. Jones was spending a few months in jail at the time for some type of drug offense, but by the time their European tour came around in the fall, Jones was back in the band with the other two regulars - McCoy Tyner (piano) and Jimmy Garrison (bass).

I must echo other reviewers in stating that AFRO BLUE IMPRESSIONS is essential for your Coltrane collection, even though it is often overlooked by critics. This 2-cd set was not released until 1977 (ten years after Coltrane's death), but the music is familiar, as it is a collection of works from GIANT STEPS, IMPRESSIONS, LIVE AT BIRDLAND, and a couple other important recordings. Even though these tracks are a re-hash of early-60's Trane, you will find that he takes an abstract turn in his solos. Therefore, apart from the main themes, the music was actually somewhat revolutionary for that time.

The first disc opens with a track from the soon-to-be-released CRESCENT LP, 'Lonnie's Lament'. This 10-minute epic explores the softer side of Coltrane while still covering an extended portion of music with free jazz elements to it. This same style can be mirrored in the equally somber 'Naima' from GIANT STEPS. Following these softer tracks is the high-energy 'Chasin' the Trane'. Coltrane follows earlier practices by leaving the piano out of this track. Other recordings of it, such as on LIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD featured none other than the prolific Eric Dolphy. I often look to this song as a method of explaining Trane's growth as an artist because of its striking similarities to Ornette Coleman's late 50's work, which also featured a piano-less quartet. The absence of piano allows the soloist more freedom in the phrasing of notes. Closing up the first disc is one of my favorite recordings of 'My Favorite Things'. Clocking in at a solid 21 minutes, the quartet really stretches out here to an eventual breaking point where Jones and Trane are left to play against one another. Some listeners may complain that the sound quality begins to fade at this point, but I don't let it bother me too much, as the quality of the performance more than makes up for it.

The second disc opens with Mongo Santamaria's 'Afro Blue,' which I find to be one of my favorite Coltrane pieces. In some ways, this specific performance pales in comparison to its lively counterpart on LIVE AT BIRDLAND, but in other ways, specifically Coltrane's extended solo, it adds new life to the piece. Following 'Afro Blue' is 'Cousin Mary' from the GIANT STEPS album. This is a hard-swinging modal piece that fits in quite nicely on this record, although it would soon represent an element of the past in the context of Coltrane's late-60's peformances. AFRO BLUE IMPRESSIONS also has a wonderful recording of Billy Eckstine's 'I Want to Talk About You' with its trademark 'extended credenza' which spans a solid six minutes this time around.

Finishing up the second disc are probably the two most avant-garde pieces, both coming from the IMPRESSIONS LP, 'Spiritual' and 'Impressions'. I prefer 'Spiritual' with Eric Dolphy on it, and you may want to consider picking up LIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD for an awesome listening experience. The bass clarinet intro on that recording will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Do not allow this to taint the AFRO BLUE IMPRESSIONS version, though. Coltrane is absolutely wonderful on this piece, and the break between the intro and the main theme in 3/4 time is outstanding.

I urge all Coltrane fans to pick up this worthy 2-disc live set. At times, the sound quality could be better, but you're not going to find another performance like this anywhere. The choice of tracks will be famliar, and the musicianship, especially that of Coltrane, is a solid encapsulation of his musical versatility.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
One of the best live performances by the Classic Quartet 2 Mar. 2001
By John Nicholas - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I own the original 1977 record release and the Japanese import CD from a decade later, so I can't comment on the sound on this particular release, but the music is amazing. The duets with Elvin Jones are thrilling! Trane's cadenza on "I Want To Talk About You" surpasses the other recordings of this song. I have about a dozen live and studio recordings Coltrane playing "Naima", and this one is my favorite. This was the John Coltrane Quartet at their peak!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Just more overlooked and underrated Coltrane 18 Mar. 2004
By arroyo - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Buy it. No it's not the Village Vanguard, and it's not Birdland, but it's still the Classic Quartet in 1963. The biggest difference is that these performances are live in concert halls instead of in small night clubs - the sound and style will necessarily be different in such venues. Sometimes the sound is uneven, but that happened at the Vanguard too, and remember, it's 1963.
That said, this is a very rewarding 2-CD set that includes the usual earnest performances of most of their standards and anthems - My Favorite Things, Spiritual, Impressions, and Afro-Blue. There is a really plaintive and bluesy Lonnie's Lament (before the 1964 release on Crescent) and this version of I Want to Talk About You is to me just as good as Birdland. This take of Naima is as good as it gets, and Tyner rolls through chorus after chorus in Cousin Mary. Afro-Blue and Spiritual are extended and come close to earlier performances at the Vanguard.
The Quartet was at its peak and was warmly received on this tour. This music, though you've heard it all before, will reward you. Don't pass this one by, it is great Coltrane.
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