Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Kulu Se Mama
Genres: Jazz, Pop
In 1965 John Coltrane was experimenting in a number of directions, regularly augmenting his long-standing quartet with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones. He began a West Coast tour in the fall with tenor sax... more »
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In 1965 John Coltrane was experimenting in a number of directions, regularly augmenting his long-standing quartet with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones. He began a West Coast tour in the fall with tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders as a regular member of the band, and in Seattle he added Donald Garrett, playing both bass clarinet and bass, and drummer Frank Butler to the group before heading to Los Angeles to perform and record. The title track was composed by Juno Lewis, a singer and percussionist who brought a strongly African element into the expanding band. The chanted vocal and layered rhythms create one of Coltrane's most evocative performances, at once tranquil and potent, a gorgeous tapestry of percussion and reed sonorities that suggests a ritual. "Selflessness," recorded with the same group minus Lewis, is one of Coltrane's most luminous themes, a brief and exalted melody that's repeated and gradually expanded into a kind of serene chaos. The developing relationship between Coltrane and Sanders is particularly arresting, the two saxophonists both mirroring and expanding one another's ideas in stunning joint improvisations. These tracks are balanced by some classic quartet pieces recorded a few months earlier. --Stuart Broomer
An Essential Coltrane Album
omeoji | Vancouver, BC Canada | 08/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There are Coltrane enthusiasts and then there are Coltrane enthusiasts. Since Trane was an artist whose style changed dramatically at least 4 or 5 times in his career, there are jazz fans who like only one or two or three of Trane's periods and can't stand his others. The critical consensus is that his work from 1965 till his death in 1967 is the most controversial. It is during this period that Trane, who came up through traditional jazz forms, moved deeper and deeper into free jazz. The beauty of the Kulu Se Mama disc is that it is informed by Trane's study of free form styles, but it is sufficiently structured so as to avoid derailing entirely into atonal, unmetered chaos. The title track is sublime with Juno Lewis's singing and percussion giving the tune shape while the horns piano and drums around him explore and radically push the envelope of the simple folk melody. This is a track where African flavored folk, hard bop, modal and free form jazz not only converge but converge successfully--it is a work of true and "new thing" beauty. "Vigil" is a duet between Trane and the classic Quartet's drummer Elvin Jones. The track is intense and intentionally not serene (the liner notes tell us that Trane meant the track as an encouragement to be vigilant against forces that are spiritually damaging and one can hear just such a struggle in Coltrane's playing). "Welcome" is a beautifully serene melody. This is tranquil music that doesn't belong in an elevator as the classic Quartet lays down one of its most conventionally beautiful tracks. "Selflessness" wasn't included with the original album--whether you will enjoy this track depends on whether you enjoy free form jazz. Typical of this period in Coltrane's career, the theme is short and discarded rather quickly and the band moves into an open form exploration of the line-up's potential. "Dusk Dawn" is a classic Quartet track with another quickly discarded theme and an open (but not exactly free) collective improvisation. I believe this is an essential Coltrane album. For the value of the title track alone, no modern jazz collection is complete without this disc. I value it above Ascension and Meditations."
The super masterwork. Incomparable. The definitive word.
T. Klaase | 06/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kulu Se Mama is one of the greatest works in the history of jazz. That's an understatement. Kulu goes beyond the limits of genre. It exists in the stratosphere of self determined art. It must be heard as an entire work, from start to finish. Simultaneously psychedelic, spiritual, soulful, preaching, pleading, angry, accepting, unsettling and healing. This is the voice of the mountaintop, the capstone of the great pyramid, the well of Chac the rain god, the lightening bolt, the philosopher's stone, Kaddish and serenade. This is it."
Stellar and Stunning - One of Coltrane's Best!!
T. Klaase | Orange Park, Florida United States | 09/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a transitional time period for Coltrane and friends. I've never heard Coltrane do anything quite like the title track before and it's amazing! One wonders what the magic must've been like - to witness that in the studio - Wow! Impressive. Track 2 is an almost 10 minute opus with just Coltrane and Elvin Jones - the first grains of "Interstellar Space" are found right here, a year or two before... This is one of my all time favorite Coltrane albums and I'm stunned that it is not more popular than it is..."