Customer Review

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique Coltrane recordings, 9 Aug 2007
This review is from: The Complete Africa / Brass Sessions (Audio CD)
Never mentioned in the same breath as Giant Steps or A Love Supreme, or even Blue Train, the Africa/Brass sessions come together to rank as some of John Coltrane's most underrated recordings. Obviously the reason it has not got as much attention as the first two albums I mentioned is that it can not be considered as one of his ground-breaking records. Nevertheless, it acts as a fine bridge between Coltrane's middle period (Blue Train, Giants Steps etc.) and his later period (A Love Supreme, Sun Ship etc.). While his playing is by no means mainstream, it is still very listenable to those who find his post A Love Supreme work a step too far.

The material is greatly varied containing hard driving swing (Song of the Underground railroad and Blues Minor), a waltz (Greensleeves) and one of Coltrane's first experiments into dispensing a western time signature and in its place using a drone (Africa). The remaining track, The Damned Don't Cry, features a 12/8 head with a medium blues solo section.

Greensleeves is strikingly similar to My Favourite Things, and features Coltrane on soprano sax with a superb, if slightly haunting orchestral accompaniment. Next up is Song of the Underground railroad which is a frantically fast swing number which features Coltrane ripping through the changes as only he could. It is arguably the highlight of the album, and yet it is a wonder why the track is still relatively unknown all these years later. The Damned Don't Cry features a comparitively mediocore solo by Coltrane though the main theme is played intriguingly on trumpet by Booker Little. Blues Minor does exactly what is says on the tin with another storming solo from Coltrane (It was upon hearing this track that I decided to buy the album.). Africa is the most unusual piece in these sessions and was a sign of things to come from later in Coltrane's career. The discs feature three quite different takes of this piece and it is up to the listener to decide what their favourite one is.

It is worth mentioning how important the orchestra (conducted by Eric Dolphy) is to these sessions. It heightens the intensity of Coltrane's playing (as if it needed it) and it provides an interesting and, as I mentioned in the title, unique setting for his playing. For this reason alone these sessions are worth owning.

While the music is first class the one downside is the order of the tracks which are played in the order that they were recorded. By the third track you are already at an alternative take of Greensleeves! The solution to this is to make a mix CD (or something similar) of your own.

To conclude, the Africa/Brass sessions are a supremely accessible set of recordings of John Coltrane at his very best. Anybody who's a fan of him should own them.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.9 out of 5 stars (8 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: New York, USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,134,742