Known Johnson

October 23, 2005

Recommended: John Coltrane – One Up, One Down

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 9:55 pm

Jazz fans need to run out and pick up the incredible new release from the John Coltrane estate, One Up, One – Live at the Half Note, a live release overseen by Coltrane’s talented son, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane (whose new album, In Flux, comes HIGHLY recommended as well – one of the best new jazz releases of the year.) This is not “easy” music by any means – what you hear on this set is Coltrane developing ideas, and in that sense it’s truly fascinating. As other notable musicians note in the liner, the solo of the title track is one of his most important musical statements, a piece that has been sought out by jazz afficiados for decades and existed only as shoddy many-generations degraded copies-of-copies. This is definitely not something you’ll want to put on during a polite dinner but rather something that needs careful, close listening to really grasp what’s going on. The compositions here form a bridge between Coltrane’s later, wilder work and his more standard-based music of the earlier 60s. As Ravi and others point out in the liner notes, this is music that existed only in the moment, and no one has quite managed to capture whatever it is that Coltrane was able to let free here.

The sound quality is overall excellent, but the buyer should be aware that these tapes are not perfect – there are occasional dropouts in the right channel – but the music contained within is so superb that any audio issues are a distant concern.

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