Review: John and Alice Coltrane's Cosmic Music has long been considered one of spiritual jazz's greatest moments. The album was recorded in 1966 and '68, features amongst its backing players the mighty Pharoah Saunders, and was initially released as an ultra-limited "private press" record by Alice Coltrane following her husband's death. It was, of course, later brought to wider attention by an official Impulse Records release, though this reissue boasts Alice Coltrane's original private press artwork. Variously out-there, discordant, effervescent and hugely atmospheric, tracks like "Lord Help Me To Be" and "Rev. King" still sound groundbreaking and mind-altering all these years on.
Review: Jazz fans take note: Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album more than lives up to its name. It features previously unreleased recordings by the late, great John Coltrane and his regular accompanying players (pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and Drummer Elvin Jones). The reels of tape the tracks were salvaged from were dated 1963, around the time that the quartet laid down some of its most forward-thinking work for the legendary Impulse label. Much of the material consists of original Coltrane compilations, though there are a few notable covers (including a great version of jazz standard "Nature Boy") dotted throughout. As you'd expect, Coltrane's performance is incredible from start to finish.
I'm Old Fashioned (CD 2: Blue Train (1957) (Cont.))
Good Bait (Soultrane (1958))
I Want To Talk About You
You Say You Care
Theme For Ernie
Giant Steps (Giant Steps (1960))
Spiral (CD 3: Giant Steps (1960) (Cont.))
Syeeda's Song Flute
Like Someone In Love (Lush Life (1961))
I Love You
Trane's Solo Blues
I Hear A Rhapsody
Africa (Africa/Brass (1961))
Greensleeves (CD 4: Africa/Brass (1961) (Cont.))
Little Old Lady (Coltrane Jazz (1961))
My Shining Hour
I'll Wait & Pray
Some Other Blues
My Favorite Things (My Favorite Things (1961))
Everytime We Say Goodbye (CD 5: My Favorite Things (1961) (Cont.))
But Not For Me
Ole (Ole Coltrane (1962))
Blues To Elvin (Coltrane Plays The Blues (1962))
Blues To Bechet (CD 6: Coltrane Plays The Blues (1962) (Cont.))
Blues To You
Out Of This World (Coltrane (1962))
The Inch Worm
Review: If you happen to be lacking John Coltrane in your collection, here's the perfect opportunity to fill the gap in comprehensive style. As one of the true masters of jazz, no music lover should be without these records. Reel To Reel have handily bundled no less than 11 of his finest albums onto 6 CDs for a crash course in Coltrane's magical sound, of course leading in with classics like "Blue Train", "Giant Steps" and "Lush Life", but also spanning "Coltrane Plays The Blues" and many more. That most of these records came out within a two to three year period is frankly mind-boggling - take the opportunity to play catch up with one of modern music's greatest.
Review: John Coltrane made many essential and influential albums over the course of his career, but few were quite as revolutionary at the time of release as 1965's "Ascension". Here presented in stunning new sound thanks to a meticulous re-mastering job, the album saw Coltrane abandon the constraints of the quartet in favour of a larger line-up of musicians and a freestyle approach in which each player was given carte blanche to improvise their own solo in turn. It was revolutionary at the time and remains a stunningly loose, ever-changing work that rewards repeat listens. Famously, two different editions, featuring slightly different recordings, were issued back in 1965; this CD edition includes both 40-minute works.
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: 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.