John Coltrane's 1962 album Olé was his final album for Atlantic, and, stylistically, bore considerable resemblance to his album My Favourite Things (which had been recorded around a year earlier), again featuring Coltrane on soprano saxophone on a couple of the numbers. As is perhaps suggested by the album's title, Ole also displayed some Spanish musical influences, particularly on the album's title track. For Olé, Coltrane used his regular rhythm players, McCoy Tyner on piano, Elvin Jones on drums and Reggie Workman on bass (whose playing was sometimes augmented by adding - or being replaced by - bass player Art Davis). As additional horn players, Coltrane employed the services of Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and Eric Dolphy on flute and alto sax - both of whom would feature on other notable Coltrane recordings.
The album showcases the 18-minute title track, which is a superb, modal Coltrane composition which, for me, ranks with his very best extended recordings such as Out Of This World, Impressions, My Favourite Things, Afro Blue and Blue Train. The composition Olé is a superbly judged, crescendo-building masterwork, featuring some of Coltrane's most impressive soprano sax playing, but also great solos from Hubbard, Dolphy (with probably the best jazz flute I have heard) and Tyner, plus Messrs. Workman and Davis excelling themselves with some inventive 'bowing'. Olé is a composition I would have loved to have heard Miles Davis play with Coltrane - that would have been mindboggling! The album's other standout number is the McCoy Tyner composition Aisha (which is dedicated to Tyner's then wife), a beautifully heartfelt ballad featuring some beautiful tenor playing from Coltrane and a heavenly, measured solo from Hubbard. The other two tracks included are the African-flavoured Coltrane composition Dahomey Dance and the Billy Frazier tune To Her Ladyship - both are worthy numbers, but are not quite up there with Ole or Aisha.
It is difficult to know why this might be,but 'Ole' superb album though it is,has never really gained the recognition that it deserves. This is a real shame because there is plenty great music in these grooves to keep just about any jazz fans happy.Perhaps the album suffers from not being enough of one thing or another. There is an air of experimentation and 'openness' about the whole enterprise,but despite some great individual performances from the likes of Hubbard and Dolphy,there is little in the way of fireworks or variation of mood. However, if you are jazz tastes extend to contemplative trance-like grooves such as the 18 minute vamp that is the title track, then this set is definitely for you.On the other hand,if you like more romantically inclined melodies,these too are in evidence. If you have come to jazz via the 'Kind of Blue' as many of us have, this set should be on your shopping list.
For my money, 'Ole' is an excellent album,best enjoyed at one sitting as the tunes all sit very well together in terms of tone and approach. The remastering is excellent , the sleeve notes informative and just for once the bonus track 'To Her Ladyship' is a little beauty,worthy of inclusion in the original release,had space allowed.
This was the final ATLANTIC album by the great saxophonist John Coltrane(1926-67) recorded on May 25, 1961 around the same time as his 'Africa/Brass' sessions for the new IMPULSE! label. With Coltrane(soprano & tenor sax) were Eric Dolphy(alto sax & flute); Freddie Hubbard(trumpet); McCoy Tyner(piano); Reggie Workman & Art Davis(bass) & Elvin Jones(drums). Highlights of the four varied tracks include Coltrane's 18-minute title-track based on a Spanish folksong waltz 'Venga Vallejo', 'Dahomey Dance' inspired by a field recording of two African singers and McCoy Tyner's haunting 'Aisha'. The fascinating music on 'Ole' still sounds fresh and exhilarating over 50 years later and this overlooked album should appeal to anyone who appreciates passionate and questing modern jazz.
The otherwise admirably reliable Cook-Morton Guide to Jazz On CD damns this 1962 Coltrane effort with fairly faint praise, claiming that it 'never quite holds the attention'. Well, I have to disagree, as it holds mine each time I enter its haunting sound world of Latin-inflected extemporisations such as opening track Ole, or the more middle-eastern Dahomey Dance, on which Trane, Dolphy, Tyner and Hubbard all solo to marvellous effect. Thus hypnotic record got to me back in LP days when I played it as I was falling off into sleep one evening, and I realised through a dusking consciousness what beauties it holds. Trane is joined on all tunes by a pseudonymous Eric Dolphy - and what an underrated figure in jazz he remains - as well as the always game Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, pianist of choice McCoy Tyner, brooding bassist Reggie Workman alongside Art Davis on second bass, and ever-versatile Elvin Jones in the drum seat. Dolphy plays flute on most tracks, exchanging it for alto on Dahomey Dance. On this remastered disc from 2000 you get the gorgeous extra number To Her Ladyship (which I seem to recall being on my LP but not on all CD reissues), a languorously slow number with Dolphy playing some irresistble flute, and Tyner showing what a tasteful, concise pianist he could be. There are Coltrane albums with more immediacy, some with more obvious attractions, but I'll forever carry a torch for this charmer. Trane plays some lovely lines, Dolphy is as usual a bonus, and the rest of the band sound happy as sandboys.
I've never heard a bad Trane record, and this is one of my favourites. If you love Coltrane, you're bound not to be disappointed.
I think i'm right in saying that this album was released in 1961 .When you think about it what else was about at this time that was so 'out there'. The title track is an incredibly interesting track experimenting in all sorts of sounds. This album really is a classic and not just a jazz classic it was so ahead of its time, the Beatles hadn't even released 'love me do' yet, pioneering wonderful stuff.
It's great to hear Coltrane playing not only with Eric Dolphy but also Freddie Hubbard at this stage in their musical evolution. The playing throughout this album is vital; the band plays like one scary but beautiful black hexapus. Reggie Workman (bass) stands out as his simultaneous bowing and plucking unearths the voodoo in even the most androgenous of specacled librarians. Elvin Jones (drums) ebbs and flows in his polyrhythmic orchestra while McCoy Tyner (piano) can be both tympany drum and sparkling water spring. Freddie Hubbard is an epileptic snake, writhing and thrashing his limbless body around the open harmony and when Eric eats a banana... Eric Dolphy is a master of his 3 horns: alto, flute and bass clarinet, the lattter of which can be heard live with Coltrane at the village vanguard 1961 - listen to his solo on "Naima". John Coltrane, although outshadowed somewhat by his wife Alice and later their son Derek (only joking) plays with strength, vitality and a glossy coat. To compare, listen to any of his quartet recordings (eg A Love Supreme, Ballads...) and then to larger groups. Afro Brass has a wonderful large brass group playing McCoy Tyner style harmony arranged by Eric Dolphy. Ascension (The Major Works of John Coltrane) is a very free but still musical recording with the regular quartet but also Archie Shepp and Pharoah Sanders (tenors) Freddie Hubbard (trumpet) and multiple bassists and percussionists. It is really what Ornette Coleman tried to do with Free Jazz but here you can really hear the musicians listening and responding to what is going on. Sing along if you know the words.
Thank you Atlantic for re-releasing this classic! One of my favorite Trane albums. Teaming with legends like Hubbard, Tyner, Art Davis and Elvin Jones, Coltrane produces one of the most rip roaring, cosmic soaring jazz records of the century. From the opening bass riff on ole, we are taken on a ride to another galaxy, where electricity flows at dangerous levels in our veins. We continue to head down many an abyss before another spine-tingling solo comes to take us up another mountain. Just imagine seeing this act live!