This blog covers the music I play on my Live365 station: Jazz Note NSU. It is devoted to hard bop and avant garde jazz. Here I confess my faith: the center of genius in modern music is jazz; the center of genius in jazz is hard bop, and especially the body of music produced between the early 50's and the mid-60's. And at the center of it all is Miles Davis. This blog is especially aimed at readers who want to build a serious jazz library.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Coltrane's Interplay Box
The three box sets of John's Coltrane's Prestige recordings are treasure troves for jazz fans. The largest and best by far is Fearless Leader. If you have that one, you have most of Trane's early albums as leader. Side Steps and Interplay contain Trane's work as a side man and double listed albums, respectively.
Tonight I have been listening to Interplay, which just arrived in the mail. Two of the sessions included in the box were one that I have been long familiar with. I had a double LP that included Cats, with Tommy Flanagan as leader, and Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane. I think that the former, like Flanagan's piano, has always been unfairly reviewed. Flanagan was all heart, and he was a great partner behind a lot of Kenny Burrell recordings. Here is one that has long been a favorite of mine. Burrell is here, along with Idrees Sulieman on trumpet, Doug Watkins on bass, and Louis Hayes on drums. It was recorded in 1959, which might have been the single most magnificent year in the history of jazz.
A recording I didn't have was Cattin' with Coltrane and Quinichette. I don't know Paul Quinichette. I think that the interplay between the two tenors is well worth listening to. The incomparable Mal Waldron is on piano, Julian Euell on bass, and Ed Thigpen on drums. Here is a sample:
It is interesting to note something about the metaphysics of jazz criticism. Both of these recordings are solid jazz, and if they had been recorded by some minor league daimon of jazz, they would be justly praised. But because Trane is playing on them they get compared to the Genesis and Romans of his old and new testaments, and are found wanting. There is nothing wrong with that, it's just interesting. If you are a Coltranist, as I surely am, you want to know the whole Bible.
I am thinking about listening to the Trane corpus chronologically, and posting on that experience. No promises, but if I do it you can read about it here.