Not just live Trane live PRIME Trane, for this 7-disc set takes its 37 performances from the three early '60s European tours Norman Granz produced under the auspices of his Jazz at the Philharmonic series. Over half of the selections here are unreleased, representing the biggest cache of newly discovered Trane in quite a while. Newly remastered, with notes wait till you hear the FIVE different versions of My Favorite Things !
For Coltrane fanatics, Live Trane
represents another part of the endless jigsaw of recordings from live sources that have proliferated since his death. For the average jazz fan, it's a concentrated dose that gives a European dimension to the Impulse documentation of what the great man was doing with his working band live in the US in the early 1960s. All seven CDs are drawn chronologically from three tours Coltrane made of western Europe under the auspices of Norman Granz between November 1961 and November 1963: the recordings gather together and correctly identify (for the first time) the dates and locations of all the previous Pablo releases of this material. (Granz had no interest in such anorak activities). There is four hours of material culled from Granz's tapes of the tours that Pablo held back before this. Quite a lot of it has been floating around on bootleg LPs and CDs for years, but there are genuine discoveries--for example, the 25 November appearance in Hamburg (in poor sound, by the way, with Tyner on an out of tune piano) is even listed by the indefatigable Coltrane discographer Yashuro Fujioka as "three long titles, details unknown", with no indication that the concert was even recorded. A November 17, 1962 Paris appearance that is well represented here is almost as undocumented. So there's plenty of rare Coltrane to feast your ears on here, plus a fair sampling across two CDs of 1961-vintage Eric Dolphy. However, there is still unreleased music from the same concerts, and the remastering has often opted for a reverb-dominated sound and occasionally makes the music sound ghostly and diffused. This is an important document, then, but not a perfect one. --Keith Shadwick