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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deeply moving album by John Coltrane's classic quartet, 22 May 2006
By 
Jazzrook (Purbrook , Hampshire) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Crescent (Audio CD)
This is one of my favourite studio albums by the John Coltrane quartet and, in some ways, preferable to his famous 'A Love Supreme' which was recorded a few months later.

Coltrane is in a melancholy and meditative mood and his tenor sounds majestic on the profound 'Wise One'. 'Lonnie's Lament' is a lyrical and haunting piece, while 'The Drum Thing' is a fascinating feature for the astonishingly polyrhythmic Elvin Jones.

All in all, a deeply moving album by this beautifully integrated quartet and 'Crescent' is an essential CD for anyone who has 'A Love Supreme' in their collection.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as Kind of Blue, 6 April 2002
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This review is from: Crescent (Audio CD)
Recorded shortly before Love Supreme this album is just sublime. Coltrane exudes passion but never lets down his guard. The album feels as good as A Kind of Blue and because of Love Supreme it is often overlooked. Buy it - you'll not regret it!
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best album by the Classic 'Trane quartet., 18 Jun 2004
By 
Ian Thumwood "ian17577" (Winchester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crescent (Audio CD)
This CD was recorded within months of the more celebrated "A Love Supreme" and, because of this fact , remained over-looked at the time. Clearly the classic Quartet had reached it's zenith around this time and it is my contention that as good as the more famous record is, this is, in fact, the superior effort.
Part of my reasoning stems from the fact the "A Love Supreme" ends of any anti-climax (even if you believe that the solo is an "instrumental" incantation of the poem enclosed within the album sleeve) especially after the barn-storming central movements. "Crescent" leaves you wanting more and has a more varied programme including the atmospheric "The drum thing", the soon to be jazz standard "Lonnie's Lament" and the terrific "Bessie's Blues." On top of this, the album includes "Wise One", perhaps the apogee of Coltrane's playing on record.
"Crescent" eschews the rather dated spritual trappings that slightly mars "A Love Supreme" for me and consequently is much better for this. If this record contained "Wise One" alone, it would be worth while buying. Since the disc is a model of consistency through-out, it must be considered an essential purchase in the same league as other 'Trane classics such as "Giant Steps." One of the most under-rated jazz albums from the 1960's.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dark Night Before The Light...., 26 Oct 2013
This review is from: Crescent (Audio CD)
John Coltrane recorded only two albums during 1964: the iconic A Love Supreme and Crescent, assembled from two recording sessions during the spring and summer of that year. Whilst the plaudits have so often been directed at the former - indeed, the story of its creation has even been turned into a book - it is perhaps Crescent that remains the most fascinating of all Coltrane's albums. It is also one that stands almost apart from the rest of his discography. So what makes it so special and why is it so often cited as his best by legions of hard core Trane followers?

The answers are many: first of all, the album radiates its own unique atmosphere - serene yet questing - with Coltrane's knotty solos breaking down into what sounds like a private dialogue with himself. Never before had his playing so dispensed with convention. At times on Wise One and the titles track its as if he's pushing jazz through his own personal cipher, so removed is it from the dominant practices of his previous work. The albums mood of melancholy is also superbly captured by Rudy Van Gelder's engineering. The tone Coltrane employs here is also darker and more closed than that on his recordings from the previous two years (during which he was alleged to have suffered from mouthpiece problems) adding to the elegiac ambience.

However, the reason Crescent makes its impact is far subtler: the previous three years had seen him mining the concept of modal jazz in a way that had become defining - Afro Blue, My Favourite Things, The Inch Worm, Tunji, Impressions, The Promise each featured lengthy, spiralling solos in which Coltrane took the barest of materials and reconfigured them. With Crescent he returned to sequential harmony in a way that was unique: song form reappeared and yet it was quite unlike either his earlier harmonic breakthroughs on records like Coltrane's Sound or his appropriation of Broadway material on Ballads. The components were stripped down to a music that united the candid soul-bearing of modes with the structural sense the saxophonist had gained through his bop apprenticeship. Witness the title track - apparently once part of a bigger suite including another composition After The Crescent - a theme with uncommon harmonic and melodic movement, or Wise One, a ballad of a very different kind to previous pieces like Naima or Central Park West. Even The Drum Thing - a title which may invite the listener to believe it will be a thunderous showcase for Elvin Jones - is a measured, unfolding theme cast over the drummers mallets and Garrison's stately bass.

The albums programming is another key to its success: smack bang in the middle, after the emotional denouement of the first two themes, is Bessie's Blues, a simple, no harmonic frills expose on the basis tenet of jazz. Once occupying the first track of side 2 of the vinyl, it stands as something of a palate cleanser for what's to come - a judicious almost theatrical move affording Tyner a chance to shine on an album on which he is somewhat under wraps.

Coltrane made many more recordings after Crescent yet to many listeners it will remain his slightly veiled masterpiece, forever cast in the shadow of its better know successor. However, one mystery about the record has never been solved: in the sleeve notes Coltrane is reported to have spend many months preparing his material. Indeed, the paucity of material listed in his discography for 1964 suggests some kind of career sabbatical. What was he doing? How did he prepare? What did Crescent refer to and what did a suite built upon it symbolise? Why was the record such a melancholy statement? It's unlikely that we'll now find the true answers, leaving Crescent as an enigmatic, beautiful testament to the great musical odyssey of John William Coltrane.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cresent- JohnColtrane., 14 Feb 2012
This review is from: Originals: Crescent (MP3 Download)
I first bought this way back in 1968 and it has remained one of my favourite albums by John Coltrane. Turn the lights down and close your eyes. This is as near to paradise you are going to get in this side of the curtain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars John Coltrane, Crescent, 1 May 2010
By 
Mr. William F. E. Mann "WUFA" (Worcester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crescent (Audio CD)
The recording just before a love Supreme & probably his best! Not as heavy as later recordings & is more listener friendly. All members of the Quartet have something positive to say.
Although not as well known as other recordings this is a MUST.Crescent
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5.0 out of 5 stars sublime, 15 Sep 2013
This review is from: Crescent (Audio CD)
buy this just for wise one a sublime modal classic, i love the production on this cd,10 out of 10 impulse records
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5.0 out of 5 stars Massive, awe-inspiring milestone in Jazz., 12 Jun 2013
By 
Nicholas Rees (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crescent (Audio CD)
Crescent by JC is one of the final releases prior to slipping the stays that held the quartet to a recognisable melody and structure and sailing outwards to planet free jazz. So it's on the cusp between lyrical JC and the avant-garde and that's the key to it's success for me. Take the opening, title track - a masterpiece where JC sets out his theme then revisits it in increasingly challenging ways but brings it back to recognisable melody even though you can feel that he probably wanted to bend it further. That's what really delivers - he's right on the edge and resists the urge to jump off. Track 2, Wise One is great as well, a masterly, lyrical and rhythmic piece that really showcases the quartet as a whole. This whole release is superb, really one of the finest jazz records ever.

I first heard this music as an impressionable student 30 years ago and it has insinuated itself into my musical DNA along with my other JC favourite "I Want to Talk About You" (the later versions with the other-worldly tenor solo).

Totally indispensable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Coltrane, 31 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Crescent (Audio CD)
It's Coltrane. Of course it's Five stars. Not every one's cup of tea but a classic album for the collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ever onwards......., 27 Oct 2012
By 
N. Jones "Nic The Pen" (Oxford, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crescent (Audio CD)
By the time this set was recorded for the Impulse label in 1964 this band had been together a while, but the level of their telepathy was always greater than any amount of time they might have spent playing together. Coltrane himself now had his own thing going on to the extent that he was equally distant from both Coleman Hawkins and his near-contemporary Sonny Rollins; trying to imagine the latter playing anything that Coltrane does in this set is thus virtually impossible.

Although not acclaimed as much as some other titles in Coltrane's discography, this set encapsulates how lyrical a player he was. On the title track his playing is pared down yet expansive, and at times borne aloft on Elvin Jones's percussive drive.

`Wise One' is set up by pianist McCoy Tyner, whose distinctive touch means he can easily set the mood in the space of a few bars. Coltrane's reflection has the effect of making the music hang in the air until the beginning of Tyner's solo at around the three minute mark, where bass player Jimmy Garrison falls in with Jones to create a wave of sound which carries the pianist on.

`Lonnie's Lament' is the longest track on this set, a point of some significance given the length of many of Coltrane's expositions. Again it's not so much restraint as it is reflection which dominates proceedings. To hear this band in this mood is to cop an earful of but one element of its artistry.

Miles Davis's quintet with Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams has become the benchmark for jazz musicians working within the "modern mainstream", and while nothing can be taken away from that band the fact that those same musicians prefer earlier Coltrane than this album says something for the self-containment of this unit. This album defines that, and is thus essential for anyone claiming an interest in "modern" jazz.
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