The Major Works of John Coltrane

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Huey
Over the course of two crucial discs, The Major Works of John Coltrane compiles the saxophonist's most important extended free jazz pieces from 1965. This is the material that made Coltrane a giant of the avant-garde, completely casting off the limits of melody, harmony, and tonality that he'd been straining against. All the performances feature Coltrane's classic quartet augmented by Pharoah Sanders and several others, depending on the session. Literally and figuratively, the biggest piece here is of course "Ascension," the album-length, 11-piece free improvisation that finally picked up the gauntlet thrown down by the release of Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz four years ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Huey
Over the course of two crucial discs, The Major Works of John Coltrane compiles the saxophonist's most important extended free jazz pieces from 1965. This is the material that made Coltrane a giant of the avant-garde, completely casting off the limits of melody, harmony, and tonality that he'd been straining against. All the performances feature Coltrane's classic quartet augmented by Pharoah Sanders and several others, depending on the session. Literally and figuratively, the biggest piece here is of course "Ascension," the album-length, 11-piece free improvisation that finally picked up the gauntlet thrown down by the release of Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz four years earlier. Present in both of its two takes, it's among the most frightening jazz performances ever committed to tape, pairing Coltrane's search for spiritual transcendence with a screeching ferocity courtesy of five saxophones that never lets up. Ascension was far more abrasive and visceral than Free Jazz, benefiting from four years of development in jazz's avant-garde, which helped make each individual player's voice more suited to this kind of chaotic, textural music. Not all of Coltrane's free work was this consistently extreme, but it did come close in isolated moments. The incantatory "Om" expands on Ascension by contrasting the same sort of passionate, banshee-scream ensembles with eerie, meditative passages, bookending the piece with poetic recitations. "Kulu Se Mama," based on a song by percussionist/vocalist Juno Lewis, further explores the ritualistic dimension of "Om" with subtle hints of danceability and Creole/Caribbean flavor. "Selflessness" is the most conventional of the pieces, starting out like a standard Coltrane Quartet piece before moving into the large-ensemble explorations. There's a lot to digest here, but as an encapsulation of Coltrane's freest and most challenging music, there's no better place to turn.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/21/1992
  • Label: Grp Records
  • UPC: 011105011327
  • Catalog Number: 113
  • Sales rank: 72,409

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Ascension (Edition I) (38:40)
  2. 2 OM (28:49)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Ascension (Edition II) (40:33)
  2. 2 Kulu Se Mama (18:59)
  3. 3 Selflessness (14:56)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
John Coltrane Primary Artist, Tenor Saxophone
Marion Brown Alto Saxophone
Frank Butler Percussion, Drums
Art Davis Bass
Elvin Jones Drums
Archie Shepp Tenor Saxophone
Jimmy Garrison Bass
McCoy Tyner Piano
Joe Brazil Flute, Percussion
Donald Rafael Garrett Bass, Percussion, Bass Clarinet
Freddie Hubbard Trumpet
Dewey Johnson Trumpet
Juno Lewis Percussion, Vocals
Pharoah Sanders Percussion, Tenor Saxophone
John Tchicai Alto Saxophone
Technical Credits
John Coltrane Composer, Producer
Dave Grusin Executive Producer
Michael Cuscuna Producer
Rudy Van Gelder Engineer
Jan Kurtis Engineer
Juno Lewis Composer
Larry Rosen Executive Producer
Bob Thiele Producer
David Wild Liner Notes
Paul Elmore Remastering
Erick Labson Remastering
Julian Lewis Composer
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