Review: Blue World is an album that was never intended for release. It features music commissioned for a soundtrack for a Canadian film in 1964 and showcases a quartet that was at its very best. It's made up of short tracks and alternate takes of early Coltrane material and is utterly vibrant. Catchy little ditties like "Village Blues", stripped down numbers like the title track and the mostly-improvised "Traneing In" are all testament to the enduring brilliance of Coltrane, no matter the setting in which he was playing. The clarity of the recording and richness of the bass playing also add to the overall beauty of this record.
Review: It's not hyperbole to suggest that "A Love Supreme" is not only amongst a handful of jazz records that everyone should own, but also one of the greatest albums of all time. As this weighty vinyl reissue proves, it's lost none of its charm. The four-part suite is undoubtedly Coltrane's masterpiece: a deeply spiritual album that saw the virtuoso saxophonist add sublime solos to a backing track that combines elements of modal jazz, hard bop, avant-garde jazz, free jazz, post-bop and modal jazz. It says a lot about Coltrane's quality - and that of his assembled players - that it was recorded in a single day in December 1964. Basically, it's brilliant and there should be a copy in everyone's record collection.
Review: It's exceedingly rare to stumble across any unreleased recordings by jazz greats such as Thelonious Monk, let alone find them in the trash. Yet, somewhat remarkably, that's the story behind "Monk", a 1963 recording of the pianist in full flow - accompanied by his "all-star" line-up of Charlie Rouse (saxophone), John Ore (double bass) and Frankie Dunlop (drums) - that mysteriously resurfaced in a Scandinavian skip last year. This album presents a fully remastered version of that rare recording - captured on tape at a live show in Copenhagen - for the very first time. It's a wonderful listen, with Monk and company darting between original compositions and altered jazz standards in typical be-bop style.