The Best of John Coltrane

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Boplicity, Jul 20, 2001.

  1. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Just saw a list of CDS to be released next week and one of them is "The Best of John Coltrane." I'm sorry, I have no more info than that. I don't know the label or who made the determination which music represents his best or if the music is remastered or live cuts or what.

    I just posted this so if any one is interested in checking out the CD to see if it is worthwhile they will know about its release. Please tell us if one of you does happen to buy it and give us your evaluation.
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Another one of those?! There's only been about 10 "Best Of Coltrane" albums released thus far.

    I strongly recommend Eric Niesensen's book,'s an easy read & his suggested listening at book's end is pretty decent(IMO).
    Coltrane, like Miles, had several diverse periods in his career...
    Some highlights for me(bear in mind that I'm into the later 'Free' stuff)-

    1)Impressions-The album w/ Eric Dolphy
    2)Transition-The title tune is a blistering solo; when I bought this & plopped it in the car's cd player...I laughed the whole ride home(& damn near melted my vehicle's electrical system) ;)
    3)Ascension-A 'must-have' for any Free Jazz fan.
    4)Kula Se Mama
    5)Interstellar Space-A sax/drums duet with Rashied Ali...pretty damn bad, IMO.
    7)A Love Supreme

    Giant Steps-A no-brainer..."Countdown" is a glimpse into the future. ;)
    Blue Trane-Coltrane on the Blue Note label.
    Coltrane-The album with "Out Of This World".

    I'm sure I'm forgetting about others...
    Live Coltrane?
    1)Village Vanguard set
    2)Live In Japan...with Pharoah Sanders & Alice Coltrane on piano.
    3)Afro-Blue Impressions...on the Pablo label
    Why not go for The Complete Impulse box set?

    ...and Lewis Porter's Coltrane bio is very, very good...

    ...I just checked out that "Best Of" at
    Looks pretty good, though, there's nothing from the later period("A Love Supreme" looks to be the latest piece on this cd)...
  3. I just read that there is a best of Paul Chambers coming out soon.
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    The "Best of Paul Chambers" sounds like an intriguing CD.

    Thanks JimK for your info on Coltrane. You know I like "pretty" music...OK...melodic. I very much enjoy "Kind of Blue" which you reccommended to me several months ago and hit the target dead on for my taste.

    I've heard some Coltrane I didn't like because it went too far into the "noise" category for my taste, but so do The Ramones. If "The Best of Coltrane" is more like "Kind of Blue", I'll buy it. If it is more of the "free jazz" I can't appreciate, I'll pass.
  5. Like JimK said, there seems to be nothing from his later period, so that probably means none of the "noisy" free stuff. Speaking of Coltrane's "free" stuff, I have "Expressions," his last recording. I never actually gave it the intent listen that I do to other works. But listening to it, it's still definitely Coltrane. His playing still has the same style of note choices and intensity that you can hear on tunes like "Countdown." The difference is that there are no clearly outlined chord changes.

    BTW, would you guys consider the intro to Jaco's (Weather Report) tune, "Punk Jazz" to be "free" jazz? I know it's not a "group" improv. It's just a bass solo and drums, but what do you think?
  6. Giant Steps and Blue Train came out around the same period that Kind of Blue did, so that would probably be more to your liking than his free stuff. Personally, I love both of those albums and they definately have some great songs on them.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I have both these and while I agree they are great albums to have, they are much more intense than "Kind of Blue" and what sets "Kind of Blue" apart is it's minimalist "modal" approach - so there is a relaxed feel because the chords aren't changing every bar, like most Jazz. So "Giant Steps" is almost diametricaly oppposed to KoB in this respect in that it is intense, not laid back and the chords are changing every bar - usually twice a bar and with frequent key changes.

    I think the point is that the feel and approach on "KofB" comes more from Bill Evans and Coltrane is really the contrast on that album - his solos are really pulling away - like on "Freddie Freeloader" his solo is just so different from anything else before and really seems to be pulling in an opposite direction - but this is what creates the interest and makes it such a great album, in a way.

    If you want "pretty" Jazz albums - look to Bill Evans rather than Coltrane - like "Waltz for Debby" is the ultimate in this category!

    My favourite melodic and modal player is Freddie Hubbard - his tunes and his trumpet solos are just so tuneful. So like "First Light" is a beautiful tune, based mostly just on two chords, with a relaxed feel, "beautiful" arrangement and wonderfully melodic solos from both Freddie and George Benson.
  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999 on my e-mail; that's what I think of it! ;)
    It doesn't get much better than Tony & Jaco goin' at it...:)

    Expression is interesting because Coltrane is heard playing flute(in addition to sax).
    (Side note: On the Live In Japan discs, both 'Trane & Pharoah can be heard playing from a music company called Yamaha). ;)
  9. You're right, Bruce, but I found Giant Steps to be just as "accessible" as KoB. It didn't remind me of "free jazz" like Ornette Coleman or fusion like "Bitches Brew".
  10. I wouldn't consider anything by Weather Report "Free Jazz" when I think of that term I think of Sun Ship by John Coltrane.
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Gruffs- Weather Report's FIRST album; there's definitely some 'free' playing goin' on(in fact, at times, Joe Z is sounding like Cecil Taylor). ;)
    (I'm thinking of the first tune, about 2-3 minutes into it).
    IMO, "Punk Jazz" is an example of two guys just letting loose...the kinda s*** I like doing when warming up with a drummer who's also into 'screwing around' while everone else is still setting up &/or just arriving. ;)

    Acsension is 'Trane's response to Coleman's Free Jazz...