This compilation of six blues pieces from the epic three day sessions for Atlantic Records in October 1960 (which also yielded the albums "My Favourite Things", "Coltrane's Sound" and a stray track on "Coltrane Jazz") is among Coltrane's finest albums.
The blues were central to Coltrane's music from the outset. From R&B through Bebop and onto the massive aural climax of "Chasin' The Trane", he never abandoned his link with the basic emotional resouce in jazz and it is fascinating to hear how this most elementary of forms was viewed through Coltrane's artistic prism in 1960.
There are contrasting grooves, tempos and keys, ranging from the ostinato based melodies of "Mr.Day" and "Mr. Knight", through to the wholly improvised heads of "Blues To Bechet", with Coltrane's soprano paying tribute to the themes namesake and "Blues To You".
The latter is perhaps one of the least commented upon of Coltrane's recordings, oddly enough as it serves as a sort of studio sketch of the forthcoming "Chasin' The Trane" (annotator Joe Goldberg accurately mentions its similarity to Coltrane's club performances of the time).
Whilst the record doesn't quite scale the heights as the classic quartet were to do on future sets such as "Coltrane" (Impulse 1962), the slightly lower-pressure atmosphere makes this album and ideal introduction to Coltrane's middle-period music. Indeed it is hard to think of anyone now finding anything objectionable about this music.
A bonus track "Untitled Original" departs from the blues-format and is a rerun of a Coltrane composition recorded for Roulette earlier in 1960 as "Exotica" and built upon the "Giant Steps" cycle being partially appended to the standard "I Can't Get Started".
Listeners who enjoy this are urged to check out the other albums recorded at these sessions, mentioned above.