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Vert Best of John Coltrane (Dig)
John Coltrane
Vert Best of John Coltrane (Dig)
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

John Coltrane is a much-anthologized artist. He recorded primarily for three labels in his decade-long stay at the forefront of jazz, whose vaults have yielded numerous best-of recordings in recent years and now two very-b...  more »


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All Artists: John Coltrane
Title: Vert Best of John Coltrane (Dig)
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Umvd Labels
Release Date: 7/24/2001
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Avant Garde & Free Jazz
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 731454991322

John Coltrane is a much-anthologized artist. He recorded primarily for three labels in his decade-long stay at the forefront of jazz, whose vaults have yielded numerous best-of recordings in recent years and now two very-bests to commemorate the 75th year of his birth. This collection is drawn from Coltrane's Impulse years, the early '60s when he was the most powerful and influential voice in jazz. The material dates from 1961 to 1964, omitting the more challenging later recordings and emphasizing the classic quartet formation with pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, and bassist Jimmy Garrison. It's a generous collection, with a running time of nearly 75 minutes, and every track is a gem. The highlights of his collaborations with Duke Ellington and singer Johnny Hartman, "In a Sentimental Mood" and "Lush Life," respectively, are here, as is a marvelous rendering of his own beautiful "Naima," recorded at the Village Vanguard in 1961 with Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet. While the famous studio version of "My Favorite Things" belongs to Atlantic, the live version here from the 1963 Newport Festival may well be the greatest of his numerous recordings of the tune. There's an ineffable quality in Coltrane's greatest work that's never been matched, a combination of magisterial creative authority combined with extraordinary tension and expressive depth. It's apparent everywhere here, but perhaps most intensely felt in pieces like "Alabama" and "Crescent," performances that reinvented lyricism in jazz. For newcomers to Coltrane's music, this is an excellent introduction, comparable, and in some ways superior, to Ken Burns Jazz Collection: John Coltrane or the complementary The Very Best of John Coltrane on Rhino/Atlantic, covering the years 1959-61. While Coltrane aficionados are likely to have most of the material here--some of it multiple times--there's also something for them: a 4 minute 33 second version of "Impressions" that was inadvertently omitted from the eight-CD set of The Classic Quartet: The Complete Impulse Studio Recordings. The only known studio version of a tune that Coltrane reworked repeatedly and at length in live performance, here it's a taut vignette. --Stuart Broomer

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The best of the many Coltrane "Best Of" collections
Andy Agree | Omaha, NE | 05/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is an exercise in futility to attempt to bottle the career of John Coltrane into a 10-track "Best Of" collection (even at 75 minutes), but as exercises in futility go, this is as good as it gets. Actually it is a "best of" 1961-1964, his years on the Impulse label, and the quality and variety of this collection are incomparable. Coltrane was a master of both soprano and alto sax, and both are featured here. Most selections feature his famed quartet including McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums. Also included are Duke Ellington playing piano on his own "In a Sentimental Mood", and Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet on "Naima", from the live Village Vanguard recordings. Every conceivable Coltrane mood is captured, from bluesy exuberance ("Bessie's Blues"), to tearless mourning ("Alabama"), mystical contemplation ("A Love Supreme - Acknowledgement"), and the late-night world-weariness of "Lush Life" (written by Ellington collaborator Billy Strayhorn and beautifully sung by Johnny Hartman in the quintessential performance of his career). There is also Coltrane's magnum opus, "Afro-Blue", ten minutes of some of the most inspired jazz ever recorded, both richly melodic and full of on-target improvisation. "My Favorite Things", Coltrane's most enduringly popular song, is also included here, but it is the Newport Jazz Festival version, which is longer (17 minutes), less focused and less effective than the definitive studio version (which was on Atlantic, and therefore could not be included in the Impulse collection). One senses that the quartet had already played this song too many times in the intervening three years to give it their best anymore. There is also "Impressions", a never-released treasure. John Coltrane's essential contribution to jazz, (make that "to music") was his ability to bring himself and his band into a place of transcendent being - of joy or of sorrow, without ever being overtly emotional. This is a state that cannot be attained through melody, arrangement or improvisation alone, but only through artistry, and that is why imitators of the Coltrane style can leave me cold. Coltrane wasn't style, he was genius."
Acceptable Introduction
H. Lim | Carlingford, NSW Australia | 10/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Acknowledgement: The disc begins with Coltrane's most famous tune, the first movement of A Love Supreme. A repetitious bass motif is played around with by the saxophone until it is revealed to be a musical recitation of the title of the album. Who am I to criticise the most worshipped eight minutes in all of 1960s jazz? Yet I never loved "A Love Supreme". Oh well.

In A Sentimental Mood: In 1963 Coltrane recorded a moderately acclaimed album with his great predecessor Duke Ellington. This reading of one of Duke's most beloved melodies is considered by many a classic - (too?) romantic, slow and accessible; one for those who are not well-up with Coltrane's fiercer stuff

Bessie's Blues: This odd little number, short enough to fit on a 78, appeared in the album Crescent. By the time this was recorded, Coltrane's sound was increasingly harsh and uncompromising, yet this is a joyous romp through a simple and catchy blues dedicated to the famous blues singer.

Naima: A bizarre, obscure recording of one of Coltrane's most beloved themes. Unable to get their hands on the classic Atlantic version, Impulse has released this version recorded live at the Village Vanguard in 1961. At the time COltrane could not legally record this tune, due to conflict with his Atlantic contract. So the melody is inverted (actually the tune was notated in the log as "Amain", which is supposed to be "Naima" backwards). So sue me, I don't like the inverted version of the melody at all - try the Antibes performance of 1965 for a truly freaky experience.

Afro-Blue: This is one of Coltrane's famous soprano-waltz standards. Afro-Blue is an inspired choice of tune - it exactly suits Coltrane's far out whacked out soloing, which reaches a frenzy during his second solo. A classic performance.

Lush Life: Bah! Humbug!

Crescent: One of Coltrane's most famous albums began with this eponymous track. A theme that is sweeping and beautiful, backed up by ferocious soloing.

Impressions: In 1962 Coltrane recorded his one and only studio version of a tune that he played almost every night. The "classic" version of Impressions is the one on the eponymous album (recorded live); this version is one third the length, but still has ferocity and inspiration to spare. I wouldn't have thought it was possible to do a four minute version of "Impressions," but here it is. Coltrane never released it, so it is here for the first time in all its unapproved-by-the-artist glory...

Alabama: A beautiful theme accidentally butchered in the studio (see my review of the "Live at Birdland" disc). Yes, it's one of Trane's most famous compositions, but it's terrible that some idiot released a breakdown take (and presumably burnt the complete takes!)

My Favorite Things: Not the classic studio version, but a version that has received acclaim and near-literal worship. The 17-minute version of My Favorite Things, from the Newport Jazz Festival of 1963, contains enough energy to launch a space ship; or to ascend to heaven in a chariot of fire. The best legal version of Coltrane's most requested tune."
A Strong 5 | usa | 09/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"for all the New John Coltrane Fans this is a Helluva Introduction it has all His Classics&it's a strong treat.compared to the first Coltrane Greatest Hits package I got this is like a Box-Set.His Tone&Vibe is Mind-Blowing from start to finish.He left a Mark that hasn't been filled can tell a Coltrane Run from anybody else's.One of a Kind Artist."