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The Classic Quartet-Complete Impulse! Studio Recordings [Box set]

Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison, John Coltrane, Roy Haynes Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 Mar 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 8
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Universal Classics
  • ASIN: B00000DHZ9
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 169,986 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Greensleeves (Single Version) 3:450.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. It's Easy To Remember (Album Version) 2:480.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. The Inch Worm (Album Version) 6:190.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Big Nick (Album Version) 4:080.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Out Of This World (Album Version)14:05Album Only
Listen  6. Soul Eyes (Album Version) 5:260.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Miles' Mode (Album Version) 7:34Album Only
Listen  8. Tunji (Album Version) 6:360.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Nancy (With The Laughing Face) (Album Version) 3:140.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. What's New (Album Version) 3:470.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Up 'Gainst The Wall (Album Version) 3:170.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Too Young To Go Steady (Album Version) 4:240.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. All Or Nothing At All (Album Version) 3:380.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. I Wish I Knew (Album Version) 4:510.99  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. You Don't Know What Love Is (Album Version) 5:140.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Say It (Over And Over Again) (Album Version) 4:180.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Vilia (Live - Album Version) 4:390.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. After The Rain (Album Version) [feat. Roy Haynes] 4:140.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Dear Old Stockholm (Album Version)10:44Album Only
Listen  6. Your Lady (Live At Birdland) 6:380.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Alabama (Live) 5:100.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Lonnie's Lament (Album Version)11:47Album Only
Listen  9. The Drum Thing (Album Version) 7:25Album Only
Listen10. Wise One (Album Version) 9:01Album Only

Disc 3:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Crescent (Album Version) 8:44Album Only
Listen  2. Bessie's Blues (Album Version) 3:350.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. A Love Supreme Part I - Acknowledgement (Album Version) 7:45Album Only
Listen  4. A Love Supreme Part II - Resolution (Album Version) 7:25Album Only
Listen  5. A Love Supreme Part III - Pursuance (Album Version)10:45Album Only
Listen  6. A Love Supreme Part IV - Psalm (Album Version) 7:07Album Only
Listen  7. Nature Boy 7:05Album Only
Listen  8. Nature Boy (Album Version) 8:03Album Only
Listen  9. Feelin' Good (Album Version) 6:240.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Chim Chim Cheree (Album Version) 6:560.79  Buy MP3 

Disc 4:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Brazilia (Album Version)12:55Album Only
Listen  2. Song Of Praise (Album Version) 9:48Album Only
Listen  3. After The Crescent (Album Version)13:37Album Only
Listen  4. Dear Lord [feat. Roy Haynes] 5:340.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. One Down, One Up (Album Version)15:28Album Only
Listen  6. Welcome (Album Version) 5:250.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. The Last Blues (Album Version) 4:230.79  Buy MP3 

Disc 5:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Untitled Original 90314 (Album Version)14:48Album Only
Listen  2. Transition15:17Album Only
Listen  3. Suite21:20Album Only
Listen  4. Living Space10:24Album Only
Listen  5. Dusk Dawn (Album Version)10:48Album Only

Disc 6:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Vigil (Album Version) [feat. Elvin Jones] 9:520.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Untitled Original 90320 (Album Version)10:48Album Only
Listen  3. Dearly Beloved 6:290.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Attaining11:28Album Only
Listen  5. Sun Ship 6:150.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Ascent10:09Album Only
Listen  7. Amen (Album Version) 8:14Album Only

Disc 7:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Love (Album Version) 8:03Album Only
Listen  2. Compassion (Album Version) 9:34Album Only
Listen  3. Joy (Album Version) 8:48Album Only
Listen  4. Consequences (Album Version) 7:20Album Only
Listen  5. Serenity (Album Version) 6:140.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Joy (Alternate Version)12:21Album Only

Disc 8:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Crescent10:08Album Only
Listen  2. Bessie's Blues 3:010.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Song Of Praise 2:450.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. A Love Supreme Part II - Resolution (Alternate Take) 7:25Album Only
Listen  5. Feelin' Good 6:200.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Dear Lord 7:45Album Only
Listen  7. Living Space14:02Album Only

Product Description


There have been many Coltrane compilations and box sets over the years since the saxophonist's passing in 1967, but this eight-CD complete collection of his quartet's studio recordings between 1961 and 1965 is the must-have. Jazz may be a music blessed with dazzling soloists, but few groups in its history seem up to perfectly matching the intentions of their leaders: Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven, Bill Evans's trio of 1960-61, and Miles Davis's mid-60s quintet are among the few that immediately come to mind. Coltrane's quartet of pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, and bassist Jimmy Garrison was another, a group so perfectly matched to his playing that it seems difficult to imagine him without them. Tyner, for example, immerses the group in restless chords and showers of single notes; Jones plays with stentorian power, yet tempers his playing with well-etched detail and a strong sense of melody; and Garrison anchors the quartet with drones and deeply rooted vamps. So powerful was the quartet's conception that even when ringers like Art Davis and Roy Haynes turn up on a couple of tracks, they, too, carry out Coltrane's aims, their individual differences worked into the scheme. On the 66 tracks included in this set (all now remastered) it's possible to follow the evolution of this extraordinary band from Coltrane's very ascetic approach on relatively straightforward albums such as Ballads and The John Coltrane Quartet Plays, through devotional efforts such as A Love Supreme and First Meditations and on to Living Space and Sun Ship, those last moments before his leap of faith into the unknown in his last few years.

This quartet's music is marked with a seriousness of purpose that burst the boundaries of jazz, and with a display of authority rare for any music. Yet despite its exploratory passion, it was a music grounded in the blues and the distant memory of swing. Coltrane, always the seeker, had found his kindred spirits and poured himself and all he knew into these performances; and even those who never shared an enthusiasm for his music at least always recognised this much.

The final disc of the set contains seven unreleased tracks, including significantly different versions of "Bessie's Blues" and "Resolution" from A Love Supreme, and others discovered by Ravi Coltrane on his father's original reference records. (For those interested in the culture of the studio, it is fascinating to see that despite its apparent simplicity and the inevitability of its melody, a gem like "Dear Lord" began with the plague of several false starts.) Music spread across 18 albums has been collated and reassembled chronologically here, much of it not always easy to find: examples are the scattered gems "Vilia", "Dear Old Stockholm", and "Big Nick", as well as a version of "Greensleeves", originally issued as an Impulse 45 single. An essential set for understanding jazz at its highest level of achievement. --John Szwed

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
In some ways it's almost silly to comment on the content of this set. Those who are Trane fans will understand immediately the import of this collection; those who are casual fans will likely not want to bear the expense of making the purchase. I found myself in a different area. I had nearly all of the material on vinyl. Since I'd played much of it heavily, this release was a welcome way to upgrade at one fell swoop. Despite my familiarity with the material, I found the package was very well put together.
I understand the criticism that live material from the Birdland and Village Vanguard lps are not included, but I think the criticism is invalid. First of all, the notes make clear up front that this is a release dedicated exlusively to the quartet of Trane, Tyner, Garrison and Jones, and those live recordings featured Roy Haynes on drums, in the first case, and Eric Dolphy on reeds in the second.
In addition, Impulse has released the Vanguard sessions in a multidisc set and points out that that session is an essential companion to this release.
The decision to arrange the tracks in chronological order bothers me not one whit, and this is where the preference of the individual listener comes particularly into play. I am so familiar with the original ordering of tracks and the tunes themselves that I find it informative to listen to the tunes in the order that they were conceived -- at least from a recording perspective.
The ordering, for me, is in fact one of the strongest features of the release. More than any other artist that I know of, Coltrane was driven by change. Hearing the tracks in chronological order offers a revealing insight into his creative process.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius...beyond praise... 18 Nov 2005
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The music on this 8 CD set is beyond praise, containing all of the material that Coltrane recorded in the studio for Impulse, though not anything that included any additional horns. The Dolphy cuts, which were mostly live, are not included, and neither are the albums with Ellington or Johnny Hartman. But otherwise, this is representative of Coltrane at his most influential. Included are the complete sessions that would become the albums; Coltrane, Ballads, Cresent, A Love Supreme, The John Coltrane Quartet Plays, Transition, Sunship, Infinity, and First Meditations, along with cuts from some of the other albums that are primarily live, such as Impressions or Live at Birdland. This music can arguably be considered the most important music of the last 40 years, as the Classic Quartet probably had more influence on the course of jazz and rock than any other single group in the history of American popular music.
So the crux of the review here is on packaging. The CDs are presented in a bound, book-style case with an extensive liner booklet. The whole is then encased in a rather ugly metal framing. Gone are any references to the distinctive original artwork of the Impulse albums. However, the book style case does have the advantage of keeping the individual CDs together, making it harder to lose them.
The cuts themselves are not presented as albums but rather in the order they originally were recorded. This has the advantage of allowing you to hear the story of the group's growth, from the first rather conservative albums Trane made to the brink of his late style on albums like Sunship.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful 6 Oct 2005
By Robert O. Davidson VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
This is an awesome boxed set. 18 albums condensed into 8 CDs. It's an absolute delight from beginning to end. Even the packaging is superior. Coltrane was a uniquely gifted talent and this album plots his Impulse career allowing the listener to hear the development of his style and ideas over that period. An ideal gift for any serious jazz fan. But, hey, why wait for a gift - treat yourself!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Packaging?? - but the music!!!! 1 Sep 2009
By Cornish Deadhead TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Having had this set for many months, I thought I would add my opinion to the list. This is a bargain to have all the Impulse albums plus bonus tracks on 8 amazing CDs. It is pointless to review the music again, however, I will say that the recordings sound crisp and immediate - a brilliant job has been done. The basic packaging in a leather fold out "wallet" is novel, and the metal "slipcase" that slides over it is a bit annoying at first. I have found that it has loosened up, but although difficult to remove at first - no damage has occurred to the "wallet" as reported by another reviewer.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great music, great value 7 Sep 2008
Format:Audio CD
I can't dissent with any of the reviewers regarding the quality of this music. I must say though, the design of the box shows lack of forethought. The metal which encases the leather was a pretty injudicious move, as it's almost impossible to get on and off without scuffing the cover. If you order this box set, my advice would be to carefully remove the metal on receipt, and leave it off.
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