Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Coltrane and the Low Horn

Trane liked to experiment with textured sound. His turn on the soprano sax is a good example. His arrangement of low horns on the Africa Brass Sessions is another. And then there is his work with Eric Dolphy. But his very first recording included a baritone sax played by Sahib Shihab (born Edmond Gregory in Savannah Georgia). The rolling earth texture of this horn sets this first album apart from Trane's work in the late fifties. The rest of the band is magnificent as well.

The recording was released as Coltrane. Paul Chambers plays bass. Albert "Tootie" Heath is on drums. Mal Waldron and Red Garland take turns on piano. Johnny Splawn plays trumpet on four cuts. This album is so delicious. All of Trane's twang is on display. The best way to get the album is to spring for the box set Fearless Leader Prestige 1957-58. Even if you are supicious of box sets, as I used to be, this is one to have. This is the John Coltrane that made everyone, including Miles, stop and listen.

Coltrane was recorded six days after I was born. Coincidence? I think not. There was something in the air!

Here is a sample:
John Coltrane/Chronic Blues/Coltrane
'Chronic Blues' might be the best cut on Coltrane. I implore you: save your pennies and get the box set. It will reward you without end.


  1. Just to avoid confusion, "Coltrane" is also the name of a 1962 album by John Coltrane for the Impulse! label:

    I realy like the track on, by the way. =D


  2. Thanks André.

    You are right of course. The 1962 "Coltrane" presents the classic quartet. Both are worth having.

    I'm glad you liked the Chronic Blues cut. I think it is superb. Blues based swing by a hard bop combo, that pushes all my buttons. Johnny Splawn's trumpet solo and Waldron's piano run, well, that's jazz.