The music here is really great and was mainly recorded shortly before classic "Giant Steps". The line up is John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, Wyton Kelly / McCoy Tyner piano, Paul Chambers / Steve Davis bass, and Jimmy Cobb / Lex Humphries / Elvin Jones drums. All the tracks are brilliant, but for me the stand out track is the uptempo "Like Sonny". Not only do you get to hear the take that made it onto the original LP but 2 alternate takes where you get to hear the development of the track leading up to the final take, which are very different and interesting as well as very catchy. I recommend this CD to all John Coltrane fans.
The Coltrane Jazz album recording (released in 1961) formed part of a pivotal period in John Coltrane's career, coming as it did between (and partly overlapping with) the recordings of two of the man's legendary albums, Giant Steps (predominantly recorded in early 1959) and (his album of popular covers) My Favourite Things (recorded late 1960). Whilst, for me, Coltrane Jazz does not quite match up to either of these recordings, it nevertheless provides a very interesting (and impressive) account of Coltrane's approach to composition and playing at the time.
Perhaps not surprisingly, given that the album contains five Coltrane compositions (and only three covers), the approach and sound of Coltrane Jazz is more akin to the straight-ahead (and bluesy) style of Giant Steps rather than the brilliant extended pyrotechnics of My Favourite Things - essentially with the replacement of Tommy Flanagan and Art Taylor with Wynton Kelly and Jimmy Cobb, on piano and drums respectively, and retaining Paul Chambers on bass. For example, I think of the Coltrane Jazz's superb original Some Other Blues as being something of a companion piece to Giant Steps' classic Mr PC, with which it shares a number of structural and sonic similarities. Of the other Coltrane originals here, his tribute to Sonny Rollins, Like Sonny, is probably my favourite, on which Coltrane builds a superb solo following the tune's moody, swinging opening, whilst each of Harmonique, with its quirky beat and extravagant polyphonic playing by the band leader, and Village Blues, an initially strolling, and increasingly vibrant and rhythmic blues, and the only tune to feature the 'alternative' quartet including McCoy Tyner, Steve Davis and Elvin Jones, are also both impressive.
Of the non-originals, Coltrane's cover of Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen's My Shining Hour contains more top tenor soloing and a nice rolling break from Kelly, whilst Trane's interpretation of the Jerry Valentine and George Treadwell ballad I'll Wait And Pray is one of his most heartfelt and beautiful renditions, and would hold a candle to the magnificence of his version of Every Time We Say Goodbye from My Favourite Things. The 2000 re-released version of the CD also includes alternative takes of Like Sonny (two), I'll Wait And Pray and Village Blues.
Just a quick note. Instead of mentioned 12 tracks there is in fact: Side One 1. Little Old Lady 2. Village Blues 3. My Shining Hour 4. Fifth House Side Two 5. Harmonique 6. Like Sonny 7. I'll Wait And Pray 8. Some Other Blues