Quite simply beautiful and sublime. I won't bother with a blow by blow account of each track as that has already been done by other reviewers. I had overlooked this album as it isn't mentioned as often as some of his other great works, but believe me when I say this is one jazz album that should be in your collection and sit beside; A Kind of Blue, A Love Supreme, Milestones, Blue Train, or The Shape of Jazz to Come by Ornette Coleman and Mingus', Ah Um. Crescent starts off in familiar tones then quickly sweeps you away as the bass line rises up during the first track, locking the tempo and allowing the magic to begin. (I can't believe I overlooked this album for so long) By the 3rd play of this album I realised I had bought another desert island disc (though to be honest I would need a truck to load all my desert island discs on by now) If you are a Coltrane fan and haven't got this album yet then treat yourself, you deserve it! and you owe it to Coltrane to let this music out of your speakers. Best £5.99 I've spent in a while. (Where's my time machine? I want to travel back and watch this guy play!)
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).
Well, it seems that I am the first one to review the 2 LP 45 rpm 180 gram vinyl of this superb Coltrane's album and well, I must say that I have been literally blown away by the sound of this ORG reissue. Wow. I have been listening to vinyl for years and although often pleased by the sound of my records is not that often that the sound quality has impressed me as much. This is my first ever 45 rpm album and it definitively has changed my perception of what an audiophile release is. The sound is the cleanest and purest, the instruments separation is amazing, and each instrument is just so clear... I have quite a few of the Wax Time well made and very good value for money recent vinyl reissues but this ORG release is just miles above. No frills packaging but the best possible sound and that is what an audiophile product means. This is expensive indeed, but the skills, love and passion of the engineers and producers of this reissue must really be praised. All in all, most probably this is the best reissue on vinyl of this album currently available. One last thing to add: probably a top cartridge will also make a difference. My Koetsu Jade has never sung so happy...
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!
You cannot but agree with the other reviews published on this site; it is a very fine work of jazz and well worth having. Personally I find the bass reproduction in the most recent mastering overbearing, thus spoiling the pleasure of listening. Earlier masterings, e.g. from Japan in the late 1980s, sound more balanced to my ears.
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.
If your not a fan don't bother this is just pure Coltrane magic, a joy to listen to . Delivered promptly as ordered and then straight in to the player. So well packed. You could be a cool cat too!!!!!!!!!!!!