Live Trane: The European Tours 1961-1963 Box set, Live, Original recording remastered
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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
Top Customer Reviews
Backed by McCoy Tyner,piano,Eric Dolphy,alto sax,flute,bass clarinet,Reggie Workman or Jimmy Garrison,bass,and the prodigious Elvin Jones on drums,Trane plays incendiary choruses on his actual repertoire: "my favorite things","Mr P.C.","impressions","Naima","chasin' the Trane","the promise"...
The intensity of this music is such than it's very difficult to find words to describe it.Of course,you'll listen to five versions of "my favorite things",or "impressions",or "Mr P.C.",four of "Naima",but you won't be bored;each version is so different from the other ones that you'll find treasures in each one.There is also the most magnificent version of "Spiritual" Coltrane ever recorded;a somptuous version of "Afro blue";the haunting "Lonnie's lament",one of Trane's most beautiful tunes;and hours and hours of some of the most joyful,sensual,essential music of the past century.This 7 CD set is one of the most important issues of the past decade,and an essential milestone in JOohn Coltrane's recorded works.Beeing a Coltrane addict,it seems impossible to miss it.Here are hours of treasures,hours of one of the most fascinating music of all times.
The recordings here are technically not up to the Impulse standard, being all mono and of varying (though acceptable) quality. There is the occasional offmike blowing by Coltrane, and on some tracks (notably cd 4 and 5) one of the musicians' (Garrison?) hideous groaning almost drowns out the music. Still, these are minor irritations considering the importance of these recordings.
The repertoire is well familiar to Coltrane fans, and the differences between the various versions provide fascinating insights into the art of improvisation at the highest level. There are a few slightly uninspired performances here, but others belong among the finest Coltrane recordings ever, and there is some stuff here you won't find anywhere else.
It should be noted that experts have pointed out some serious discograhical errors in the cover notes (some of the recordings seem to actually stem from Birdland, NYC).
But what was John Coltrane, really - what was great about him? Well, he was a great soloist; I would argue that the length and rigor of his solos from about 1957 on make him THE MAN in this regard (with apologies to Bird, Miles, and Jimi among others). He was a great player generally, with a supremely confident tone who could play the blues unlike anyone else has. And from roughly 1960-63 he was a great bandleader, taking his famous quartet deep into the heart of African-American (as well as other) forms and coming out a winner every time.
All of those attributes are on display in this collection of music. There are other documents of Coltrane's quartet live (most notably the 1961 Village Vanguard recordings) but I think this is the best place to really catch how great these guys were. These recordings are from tapes made by concert promoter Norman Granz - and some were issued before on his Pablo label (as "Afro-Blue Impressions", "Bye Bye Blackbird", and "The Paris Concert"). Those were great records, records that showed this band playing at length and brilliantly. This collection is the same thing, times 3 or so (it's about 3 times as much material as we had before).
Any complaints about duplication in the repertoire, or so forth, miss the primary point of importance here. Which is that this is some of the best music ever made or recorded, and unlike the rest of Trane's recorded legacy. It's just fantastic stuff.
Most recent customer reviews
The music on this cd is just an incredible representation of the intensity that Coltrane brought to the bandstand. Read morePublished on Oct. 31 2003 by Zachary Lipton
I was glad to add these live sets to my Coltrane collection. The sound is good and the playing is excellent. Highly recommended.Published on Dec 17 2001 by Brian "Jazz Fan" J. B.
Yes, this is monophonic and has a rather distant and uneven sound. No, this doesn't matter much to the Trane Tribe, who cannot get enough of the classic quartet's exotic... Read morePublished on Dec 12 2001 by Douglas Groothuis
Historically this live cd falls within the most productive period of John William Coltrane's artistry. Read morePublished on Dec 10 2001 by scott mcdowell
Not as good as the 4-CD-boxset of the Village Vanguard Concerts, this latest one still deserves not less than 5 stars. Read morePublished on Nov. 27 2001 by Aydin Erer
I have a ton of Coltrane's discs&of course the whole Village Vanguard Set which is far Better to Me than this Compilation. Read morePublished on Nov. 3 2001 by MAXIMILLIAN MUHAMMAD
This doesn't come close in terms of quality or performance to any of the sets from Impulse but it is nonetheless an important release. Read morePublished on Oct. 29 2001 by A. Johnston
This box earns four stars (and should earn five) simply for the quality of the performances. On stage, the classic Coltrane quartet stretched the tunes out, often to more than... Read morePublished on Oct. 25 2001 by Dan Plankton
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