4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2008
A Love Supreme is always the first Coltrane album to buy and, although there are many albums better suited for someone dipping their toe in the murky jazz waters in the hope of finding something to play at a dinner party, Meditations should follow on soon after. This is Coltrane's second master piece (the third is Ascension). It follows on from the Love Supreme sides in the canon of Coltrane's quest for devotional music and belies the concept that meditation should only ever be something done to the drifting sound of twee flutes. This is Coltrane searching passionately for the spiritual, looking for answers rather than waiting for them to drop in his lap. Consequently, this is music that demands that you listen - that you focus on the depth of the sound. It is not an easy jazz experience and will continue to turn people away from his music but for those that have got the ability to tune into Coltrane's concept, this is very rewarding music.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2006
As a Coltrane fan since I first heard him in the late 50s, for years I have thought this was his most finished work (and much superior to the more famous Love Supreme at least in the studio version; if you're interested in that, hear the live version in Live at Antibes and choose - it's quite different, and looks forward to Meditations). I understand and respect the views of the Coltrane fans above who don't like Meditations, but I want to make clear that there's another view.
Actually, I'm not crazy about Pharaoh Sanders as a musician either - outside Coltrane's use of him. Why did Coltrane use him, as he did quite selectively? He saw a role for him and you see this to perfection in Meditations. What he does fits Coltrane's purposes - this is a thought-through piece of music. Meditations is a suite, and the sum is greater than the parts (good as they are!). To hear Sanders (or Coltrane) in Meditations as if they're soloing like Coltrane in (the differently wonderful) Giant Steps seems to me to miss the point and the added dimension (which is, yes, structure and discipline like in Bartok string quartets). Finally, this is a studio recording. I've never heard of a live version. At the risk of being proved wrong by there being one somewhere or statements from Coltrane to the contrary, I think that's because Coltrane felt he'd achieved the total effect he wanted. One-offs are very unusual in Coltrane's work (Transition may be another, though as with Meditations there are sketches. Transition is great, and a suite without Sanders...but I think Meditations is even better, a more all-embracing work.) Meditations is, unusually for a jazz work, greater than the individual musicians who created it, but like all jazz, it can't be created by anyone else!
9 of 18 people found the following review helpful
The first post Classic Quartet studio album, with the additions of Pharoah Sanders and Rasheed Ali. McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones left soon after this, and it's easy to see why. Coltrane was bursting with new ideas, but he didn't seem to know quite where he was going here and some of the music is confusing and cluttered. 'The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost is almost unlistenable, especially when the nauseating Sanders starts his excrutiating solo. However the close of the album,from Tyner's piano solo at the end of 'Consequences' and through 'Serenity' is absolutely exsquisite,and there are moments of inspiration elsewhere,but inconsistency is the overall impression. Coltrane actually recorded the same suite earlier in the same year with just the quartet,which was posthomously released as'First Meditations'.The earlier version is far superior, especially 'Love'and is for me one of his very finest recordings. Hard to believe that Coltrane felt the need to re-record it .
Overall, I would recommend this to Coltrane fans who want to collect everything significant he recorded or who can happily stomach his most intense music; there are moments of genius here,but if it's a choice between the two, definitely go for the magnificent 'First Meditations'
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2012
An excellent service plus good price for a true masterpiece. This is Trane abandoning known paths for a risky bet, a bet on his own and unique musical expression, a bet that McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones didn't want to follow. It has to be listened.
5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 23 August 2000
This is one of those 'difficult' Coltrane albums. In parts, the playing is beautiful, particularly on the charming 'Serenity' - but overall you get the feeling that everyone is trying just a little too hard. Indeed, much of the album is lost in a discordant cacophony of noise - not what I expected, given the title. Those in the market for just one Coltrane release should look elsewhere - 'Giant Steps', or better still 'A Love Supreme' would be excellent places to begin.