Fine Early Coltrane But.....
Andrew Stevenson | Union Springs, New York | 08/20/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In hindsight we know where Coltrane's musical/spiritual quest would take him over the years. What I find fascinating is hearing seeds of his final intense phases planted in his early playing. And so, of course, "Coltrane," listed here as "First Trane," is worth owning. Trane plays hard and well (as always) with the able support of pianists Red Garland & Mal Waldron, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Al "Tootie" Heath. In particular I enjoy Trane's ballad work (here represented by "Violets For Your Furs" and the mysterious "While My Lady Sleeps.) It's refreshing to hear ballads interpreted with a harder tone and less sentimentality than other tenor saxophonists often bring to them. What's somewhat odd about this session is the addition of trumpeter Johnnie Splawn and baritone saxophonist Sahib Shihab. Each only gets to solo twice; otherwise they simply play in the ensemble. On "While My Lady Sleeps" Splawn plays just one note! Their playing is OK here but I would much rather have Trane fill their space. Coltrane collectors will want this CD; those with limited shelf space or funds might want to consider "Traning In," "Soultrane," or "Settin' the Pace" (all with the magnificent Red Garland trio) for a fine taste of early Trane. Also don't mistake this CD for a later Impulse release also titled "Coltrane." That's how I ended up with this CD in the first place!"