The Very Best Of The Atlantic Years (International)
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1. Giant Steps 2. Cousin Mary 3. Naima 4. Stairway To The Stars - with Milt Jackson 5. My Favourite Things 6. Mr PC 7. Little Old Lady 8. Like Sonny 9. Every Time We Say Goodbye 10. Central Park West 11. My Shining Hour 12. Mr Syms 13. Equinox 14. Body And Soul 15. Aisha
We only have 79 minutes in which to compress the highlights of Coltrane's years with the Atlantic label, so the going is set to be rough, with personal favourites omitted or obvious choices made. Surely this could have been a 2CD set! With only a lone disc at hand, it's best to sidestep the notion that this has to be a graven image of the monumental saxophonist during his peak early-1960s period. This selection is best viewed as an introduction that can't go wrong, and the listener's next move must be to seek out the original albums of the period.
Predictably and understandably, Giant Stepsdominates at first, with around one side's worth of the old vinyl included. This was Coltrane's debut for Atlantic in 1960, and its crucial title cut opens up, revealing the tenorman's soloing technique in a concise, intricate and passionate form. The story of this compilation (and possibly of the man himself) seems to be the contrasting of assertive speedsters, displaying technical (and emotional) prowess, with ballads that are so slow and introspective that they virtually hang suspended, in a state of gracefulness.
So, the diaphanous "Naima" is another representative from Giant Steps, eventually followed by the bluesy swaggering of "Mr. P.C." Often, it's the fairly rare presence of 'outsiders' that shocks, as with vibraphonist Milt Jackson's showing on "Stairway To The Stars", from the pair's Bags & Trane album. Following the Giant Steps tracks,
Coltrane's horn sounds fat and warm, so close it's lodged deep inside the cranium. And when Freddie Hubbard steps up to take a solo on the closing "Aisha" (a lone representative from 1962's Olé), the sudden stab of a trumpet comes as a thrilling surprise after so much quartet-based music.
"My Favorite Things" appears in its shortened single version, with Coltrane dancing on soprano saxophone, whilst he switches to alto on "Equinox", which still sounds like one
of his most forward-looking compositions. With Coltrane's work for the Impulse! label lurking just around the next corner, he would soon be setting himself free for an increased degree of sonic abstraction... --Martin Longley
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Top Customer Reviews
as part of the almost deluge of cd s now available for sale here on amazon. this patchy compilation is at least on Coltrane's 1960 era label ie Atlantic and therefore has a whiff of authenticity , a nice cover and not a cheap cash-in re-release by the myriad new labels. the problem though is the choice of atlantic material. a very short edited version (a scandalous 2 1/2 minute only edit of Coltrane's most popular track after Blue Train i.e My Favourite Things (yes- the Sound of Music tune but given wonderful searching rendition al as not here in full 13 minute length). this well filled cd does offer some fine pre-peak era Coltrane (again ie his extensive 1961-67 final phase on the impulse label) taken from several fine lp s of the time such as Giant Steps, Plays the Blues,Coltrane's Sound etc.plus a couple of unusual choices that might have been better chosen.
a fine collection for newcomers but a jazz figure as huge as Coltrane's legacy is , this is but just a starter into a potentially very long and rewarding obsession with the man s extraordinary fiery, spiritual output. file under good but not essential. also there are many other official cd compilations from atlantic and impulse that easily better this release. as elsewhere on amazon - i will re-iterate the indisputable fact : for absolute prime Coltrane you need really to start with a best of Coltrane compilation from Impulse his peak era label but this Atlantic best of is fine also.