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4.6 out of 5 stars
8
Impressions
Format: Audio CD|Change
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 July 2017
Some reviewers have noted the ‘patchwork’ nature of this album. Essentially a bunch of off cuts from previous recording sessions from 1961through ‘63. It says something of Coltrane’s abilities as an artist that the disc sounds anything but a grab bag. ‘Impressions’ is a remarkably enjoyable and thoroughly consistent musical document. The band featuring Eric Dolphy (on all but one track) are on inspired form and we get the sense that Coltane himself is starting to stretch the boundaries of jazz. Solo’s aside there are some attractive melodies to reward the listener. Listen to the lovely ‘After the Rain’ and believe!

As a fan of Coltrane I feel duty bound to support his every effort. But that doesn’t affect my ability to be reasonably balanced in my assessment of this disc. To my ears this set is a sort of bridge between albums such as ‘Lush Life’ and ‘Ballads’ to the kind of way out material to be found on platters such as ‘Interstellar Space’ and ‘Kulu Se Mama’. It is thirty four minutes of stimulating, beautifully conceived and executed jazz. No duff tracks but plenty of great / good ones. Fave track? the hypnotic 'India'.

Highly recommended.
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on 17 April 2001
This Coltrane disc is a bit of a mixed bag. The two shorter tracks, "Up 'Gainst the Wall" and "After the Rain" are very polished and great to listen to, but somewhat uninspiring. "After the Rain" may be a marvellous ballad, but for me the real interest in this collection comes in "India" and "Impressions" with frantic but lyrical solo work from Coltrane and great backing from saxophonist Eric Dolphy and the band.
The bass clarinet-sax duet riff on "India" is catchy, and Coltrane's soprano sax playing is also impressive on this track. "Impressions" is a real showcase for Coltrane, and I believe it is one of his most impressive tracks.
The bonus track, the traditional Swedish melody "Dear Old Stockholm" which Miles Davis also developed in similar style, upholds the high standard of this superb CD. I recommend this disc to Coltrane fans, but also to those searching for a first taste of his genius.
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on 18 June 2008
This album is a hodge-podge, with three stunning tunes and two (relative) fillers, and with all five tracks in differing styles. There are two long songs (one an epic solo exploration by Coltrane, the other a dense rhythmic work out), a lush ballad, a folk song and a cover. Nonetheless, if you can ignore the disparaty in the music and enjoy it on a track-by-track basis, this is one of Coltrane's finest albums.

"India" is an incredible opener, the two basses creating an utterly deep and resonant sound, filling the track with foreboding. Trane solos on soprano sax while Eric Dolphy plays on a reed. It's stunning - jazz had never been like this before! The sound is mysterious, pulsating and richly textured. At the middle, after tension is built and built by Dolphy on the reed, Trane comes in with an enormous shrieking howl which captures a sense of utter spiritual anguish. Proto-punk, practically!

"Impressions" meanwhile is a length (but never boring) exploration by Coltrane, his power and originality and creativity are utterly dazzling. As indeed is the backing, which propels him ino some kind of supersonic stream.

"After The Rain" is a ballad with an apt name, as you can practically see the rain dripping off the leaves, hear the swollen streams slip by, and see the emergent sunlight twinkling on dripping droplets. Lush just doesn't capture it! Perhaps Coltrane's finest ballad.

The other songs are less memorable but not bad, perhaps serving as a breathing space between the incredible atmospheres developed by Coltrane. This album is well worth buying by any jazz fan!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 July 2012
This 1963 release contains one of the many live recorded versions of Coltrane's own composition Impressions which, for me, along with his versions of the likes of Out Of This World, Ole and Afro Blue, ranks as one of his greatest extended numbers. Recorded at the Village Vanguard, this 15 minute version features around (yes, you've guessed it) 15 minutes of Coltrane soloing on tenor, but whilst this may initially appear to be overkill (or bordering on self-indulgence - not unknown, of course, for the great man), his solo does not for a second flag. Given the extent of Coltrane's dominance of the version, not surprisingly, Eric Dolphy's alto saxophone and McCoy Tyner's piano are notable only by their absence, whilst Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones (as usual) provide great rhythmic backing.

For me, the other outstanding piece on this album is Coltrane's sublime ballad After The Rain. His playing of this exquisite melody is as heartfelt and mellow as anything he has ever done, right up there with Every Time We Say Goodbye, Alabama, Wise One and Naima. Recorded in the studio, After The Rain also features some sensitive piano playing from Tyner. The other tracks included here are a live version of the extended composition India, which features Coltrane on soprano sax and displays some remarkably inventive (and high pitched!) bass clarinet playing by Dolphy, and a studio recording of another Coltrane composition, the quirky, blues-based Up 'Gainst The Wall.
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on 6 June 2007
This is probably my favourite John Coltrane album of a dozen, or so in my collection, including the usual studio recordings - Giant Steps, Favourite Things, A Love Supreme etc..

This is pure, progessive, free flowing jazz at it's best and probably the best time in John's career post Miles Davis line up. How can you better the musicians he's playing with and the beautiful music they are making? This to me, is John's equivalent of Kind Of Blue, the audience must of been spellbound. Buy it and play it lots. I could play "India" and "Impressions" all day long. Not a dough tune on this disc.
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on 16 July 2015
Although wonderful, Trane has become sadly fashionable.This album, a mixture of Live and Studio together with Love Supreme is when Trane found his voice.
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on 12 February 2004
A wonderful album...hours of listening into.Eric Dolphy is on two tracks and masterpiece tracks they are. Coltrane on soprano sax and Dolphy on bass clarinet on 'India' and then the reverse, with Coltrane on tenor and Dolphy on alto on 'Impressions';are they kidding or what?But these are truly marvellous tracks.. Dolphy's sound is extraordinarily compelling and Coltrane is majestic in exploring every facet of expression in breath,note and chord.This is a top notch release from the Impulse label and comes highly recommended.
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on 7 March 2016
This disc is a combination of live and studio performances and it is a hard album to love, as much as I am a fan of John Coltrane's music. The opening "India" is intriguing with the additional bass and the addition of Eric Dolphy's bass clarinet but it over-stay's it's welcome. This is even more the case with "Impressions" which is an up-tempo reworking of the two scale devise employed by Miles Davis on "So what." Whilst the tune enjoys something of a cultish status, there isn't really sufficient for Coltrane to get his teeth stuck in to and given that , for some reason. McCoy Tyner is given relatively little solo space through this disc, the result becomes a bit tedious. Despite this, "Up against the wall" is a brief and exciting blues and the closing "After the rain" is one of John Coltrane's most beautiful ballads. For me, this is the main reason for snapping up this record.

As I get older, I find myself appreciating the more adventurous side of Coltrane's music and it is curious how your perception of which discs are the best often contrast against the perceived wisdom. "Crescent" always seems to me to represent the apogee of the Coltrane quartet and I think that this should be the starting point rather than "A love supreme." I have no objections to the length saxophone workouts yet anyone familiar with the brilliant double CD "One up, one down" is going to find "Impressions" a bit of an anti-climax. This is an OK disc but far from being "essential" even if it does include the saving grace of "After the rain." The mixture of Dolphy and Coltrane is peculiar with both musicians offering alternative approaches to the avant-garde, the former like a melted version of Charlie Parker and the latter totally attuned to a spiritual, modal approach. This does add to the interest yet Tyner's reduced role on this record is a disappointment for those like me who find him one of the hardest swinging of all jazz pianists.
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