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Soultrane by John Coltrane Quartet

This reissue of Soultrane, a landmark 1959 Prestige recording, displays a young John Coltrane, reaching musical maturity on his way to becoming a jazz giant. Tracing his career, this would be his middle period.

To this, Coltrane comes from his stint in the mid-fifties mostly as a sideman for the Miles Davis Quartet, during a time when he played tenor in the shadow of the reigning Sonny Rollins. It became obvious in this session that he was becoming someone to be reckoned with.

The CD begins with Coltrane’s loping-gait rhythmic, easy swinging groove on "Good Bait," with creative ideas energetically breaking out. This cut is followed by the soulful "I Want To Talk About You," which gives attention to his superb sidemen, stars in their own right. There are long tasty solos by Red Garland (another alumna from Davis’ group), and the eminent bassist Paul Chambers. Meanwhile, drummer Art Taylor, provides an impeccable beat.

"You Say You Care" displays Trane’s controlled frenzy--wailing runs, but notes always distinct, never slurred. Note Taylor’s rim shots here, pushing te group on.

The penultimate number, "Theme For Ernie," often overlooked on this album of highlights, shows Coltrane’s sensitive ballad style that would be fully illustrated in the sixties with his classic recordings with vocalist Johnnie Hartman.

"Russian Lullaby" gained critical attention on first release and is likewise the showpiece in this new issue. Furthermore, it foreshadows the volcanic eruption to come in his sixties group, featuring McCoy Tyner on piano and Elvin Jones, drums.

Back then critic Ira Gitler coined the term "sheet of sound" to describe Coltrane’s soloing here. And that pretty much says it.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: John Coltrane Quartet
  • CD Title: Soultrane
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Reissue Original Release: 1958
  • Record Label: Prestige/Concord Music Group
  • Tracks: Good Bait, I Want To Talk About You, You Say You Care, Theme For Ernie, Russian Lullaby
  • Musicians: John Coltrane (tenor sax), Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Arthur Taylor (drums)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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