on 9 April 2012
There is an increasing flood of live Coltrane, some blighted by one or more of poor sound, indifferent performances, misleading liner notes and/or unjustified cost. This, by comparison, is an excellent, brief (by Coltrane's standards) account of the Classic Quartet in 1963 with the benefit of concise, focused and enlightening liner notes. Jimmy Garrison's bass, often the victim of amateur recordings and/or the double horn and/or double percussion assault of post-Classic quartet performances is to the fore and, in addition to live staples such as "Naima", "My Favorite Things" and "Impressions", we have rare performances of "Lonnie's Lament" and "Cousin Mary".
The performance of "My Favorite Things" is first rate, even if does not quite justify the tag of "finest ever" described to it by some reviewers and the coda to "I Want to Talk About You" bewitching but the highlight for me is "Spiritual" which, apart from the four variations on "the Complete Village Vanguard", is hard to trace. It starts off in full intensity - Coltrane's declamation echoing against Elvin Jones's massive drum roll - but then gives way to a touching swing rendered with a felicity of touch. The album concludes with a focused take on "Impressions" with some of Tyner's best piano playing and Coltrane (presumably) lightly vocalising a la Keith Jarrett before his entry some 5 minutes in. The sustained excellence over these two discs has rarely been bettered and "Afro Blue Impressions" should be one of the first live purchases of any Coltrane fan.
on 31 August 2011
This double cd was recorded during a European tour in 1963. The John Coltrane Quartet:John Coltrane (tenor/soprano sax), McCoy Tyner (piano), Elvin Jones (drums) and Jimmy Garrison (Bass) - are on fire throughout. The sound quality is great and the performances are certainly up there with the 'Live at Birdland (1963)' and 'Village Vanguard (1961)' concerts. For some reason 'Afro Blue Impressions' is not as well known. I have numerous Coltrane recordings but this one had aluded me until recently.
Lonnie's Lament (10.07)
Chasing the Trane (5.41)
My Favourite Things (21.02)
(total running time: 44.08)
Afro Blue (7.34)
Cousin Mary (9.54)
I want to talk about you (8.15)
(total running time: 48.49)
This is the John Coltrane Classic quartet at their most accessible - combining sheer power, emotion and lyricism - before the freer jazz explorations and Pharoah Sanders period of 1965 and beyond took hold...
Recommended without reservation!