The music on this disc is gleaned from a pair of dates circa April and May 1961 with the John Coltrane Orchestra. As the name suggests, Africa/Brass Sessions, Vol. 2 (1995) includes the second installment of the work and doesn't replicate the sequence in which the music was documented. After a successful string of albums on Atlantic Records, Coltrane signed to the burgeoning and jazz-intensive Impulse! imprint -- a relationship that would be kept for the remainder of his career. Shortly after reprising his role in the Miles Davis Sextet on "Teo" as well as the title track for Davis' Someday My Prince Will Come long-player, Coltrane assembled a 17-piece orchestra and began what would become known as Africa/Brass. Among the jazz luminaries contributing to these landmark sessions are Booker Little (trumpet), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Julian Priester (trombone), Eric Dolphy (alto sax/bass clarinet), McCoy Tyner (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Reggie Workman (bass), and Elvin Jones (drums). Coltrane manipulates their power into masterful contrasts between the syncopated rhythms of "Greensleeves" and the full-out bop onslaught of "Songs of the Underground Railroad." The amazing virtuosity in Coltrane's solos had begun to show signs of the future direction his later avant-garde sides would take. The interaction with Tyner on "Songs of the Underground Railroad" is impeccable. Coltrane allows room for Jones and Workman to likewise engage Tyner for some high-spirited improvisation. This is a key element in understanding the path John Coltrane's music would take in its final phases. Inclined parties are encouraged to locate The Complete Africa/Brass Sessions, as it brilliantly documents this pivotal era in Trane's music. Its far-reaching effects have been cited by both David Crosby and Roger McGuinn as a primary influence on the Byrds -- particularly on their proto-psychedelic pop hit "Eight Miles High."