John Coltrane's Crescent from the spring of 1964 is an epic album, showing his meditative side that would serve as a perfect prelude to his immortal work A Love Supreme. His finest quartet with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones supports the somewhat softer side of Coltrane, and while not completely in ballad style, the focus and accessible tone of this recording work wonders for anyone willing to sit back and let this music enrich and wash over you. While not quite at the "sheets of sound" unfettered music he would make before his passing in 1967, there are hints of this group stretching out in restrained dynamics, playing as lovely a progressive jazz as heard anywhere in any time period. The highlights come at the top with the reverent, ruminating, and free ballad "Crescent," with a patient Coltrane acquiescing to swinging, while the utterly beautiful "Wise One" is accented by the delicate and chime-like musings of Tyner with a deeply hued tenor from Coltrane unrushed even in a slight Latin rhythm. These are the ultimate spiritual songs, and ultimately two of the greatest in Coltrane's storied career. But "Bessie's Blues" and "Lonnie's Lament" are just as revered in the sense that they are covered by jazz musicians worldwide, the former a hard bop wonder with a classic short repeat chorus, the latter one of the most somber, sad jazz ballad reflections in a world full of injustice and unfairness -- the ultimate eulogy. Garrison and especially Jones are put through their emotional paces, but on the finale "The Drum Thing," the African-like tom-tom sounds extracted by Jones with Coltrane's sighing tenor, followed by some truly amazing case study-frantic snare drumming, makes it one to be revisited. In the liner notes, a quote from Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka states John Coltrane was "daringly human," and no better example of this quality transferred to musical endeavor is available than on this definitive, must have album that encompasses all that he was and eventually would become.
Performance CreditsJohn Coltrane Quartet Primary Artist
Elvin Jones Drums
Jimmy Garrison Bass
McCoy Tyner Piano
John Coltrane Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Technical CreditsMichael Cuscuna Liner Notes,Reissue Producer
Rudy Van Gelder Engineer
Nat Hentoff Liner Notes,Annotation
Amiri Baraka Author
Bob Thiele Producer
Chuck Stewart Cover Photo
Charles Stewart Cover Photo
Freddie Paloma Graphic Design
Hollis King Art Direction
Joe Lebow Liner Design
Robert Flynn Cover Design
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
I like this album over A Love Supreme..
This album is good, but it could have a little bit more energy within it. Still, it does have a lot of energy, but if you want even more, check out something like ''Live @ Birdland''
John Coltrane's album Crescent bursts forth with a creativity unique and sublime. From the depths of blue jazz comes a singular musical emotion, featured prominently on the poetic and tragic tunes Crescent and Wise One. This transcends to the fast paced fervor of the quick and bright Bessie's Blues, and returns into deep dark blue with the saddening unstoppable Lonnie's Lament. Truly the Coltrane Quartet has created a masterpiece. Coltrane's saxohphone is expressive beyond compare, and plays within the framework of all 5 songs to a degree matched only by the perfectly aligned piano from McCoy Tyner. Not to downplay the other incredible musicians, all of whom play with amazing proficiency and style, making the music a collection of instruments vibrating off each other in an intense expressive energy. Of particular note is Elvin Jones on The Drum Thing, a far out escape into the realm of rhythm and freeform musical wonder, rounding off the album and giving it the perfect finish. Not one of these tracks is without unique power and beauty, and all of them represent the highest level of astounding and unparalelled performance. Only the Coltrane Quartet has the ability to express so profoundly the art of jazz.