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John Coltrane

1963: New Directions

    'In the brief, bright arc that is the career of John Coltrane, 1963 marks a point of transition between past jazz masterpieces and future work which would transcend the boundaries of the music itself.  That year's recorded output shows movement in many directions: a look back at the past, continued examination of a familiar repertoire, exploration of more traditional formats and a look forward at compositions and approaches that would further extend the reach of jazz. John Coltrane 1963: New Directions collects all of John Coltrane’s 1963 Impulse recordings in the order in which they were recorded

    5-LP, 3-CD sets include artwork featuring original collages.

    The box is meant to show the growth in Coltrane’s musical journey in 1963 that ultimately resulted in 1964’s “Crescent” and, especially, “A Love Supreme” // Music comes from the original albums “Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album”, “John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman”, “Dear Old Stockholm” (released after Coltrane’s death), “Newport ‘63” and “Live at Birdland”.

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    John Coltrane

    Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (Deluxe Edition)

    These 2CD and 2LP formats features a further 7 tracks of different takes giving a further 40 minutes of music.

    June 8, 2018 (New York, NY) – On March 6, 1963, John Coltrane and his Classic Quartet— McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones –recorded an entire studio album at the legendary Van Gelder Studios. This music, which features unheard originals, is now finally released 55 years later. This is, in short, the holy grail of jazz.
    The first week of March in 1963 was busy for John Coltrane. He was in the midst of a two-week run at Birdland and was gearing up to record the famed John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman album, which he did on March 7. But there was a session the day before that was the stuff of legend, until now.
    On Wednesday, March 6, Coltrane and the quartet went to Van Gelder Studios in Englewood, NJ and cut a complete album’s worth of material, including several original compositions that were never recorded elsewhere. They spent the day committing these to tape, taking time with some, rehearsing them two, three times, playing them in different ways and in different configurations.
    At the end of the day, Coltrane left Van Gelder Studios with a reference tape and brought it to the home in Queens that he shared with his wife, Naima. These tapes remained untouched for the next 54 years until Impulse! approached the family about finally releasing this lost album. Though the master tape was never found—Rudy Van Gelder wasn’t one for clutter—the reference tape was discovered to be in excellent condition.
    As the legendary saxophonist Sonny Rollins so rightly put it, “This is like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid.” The musical implications of this album, the original compositions, the arrangements, the band, the year it was recorded, all amount to a rediscovery and re-contextualization of one of the most important musicians of our time.
    Danny Bennett, President and CEO of the Verve Label Group and home of Impulse! records, says, “Jazz is more relevant today than ever. It’s becoming the alternative music of the 21st century, and no one embodies the boundary-breaking essence of jazz more than John Coltrane. He was a visionary who changed the course of music, and this lost album is a once-in-a-lifetime discovery. It gives us insight into his creative process and connects us to his artistry. This album is a cultural moment and coincides perfectly with our relaunch of the iconic Impulse! label.”
    On this album, there are two completely unknown and never-before-heard originals. “Untitled Original 11383” and “Untitled Original 11386,” both played on soprano sax. “11383” features an arco bass solo by Jimmy Garrison, a relative rarity, and “11386” marks a significant structural change for the quartet, in that they keep returning to the theme between solos, not typical in the quartet’s repertoire.
    In addition to the two unheard originals, “One Up, One Down” – released previously only on a bootleg recording from Birdland – is heard here as a studio recording for the first and only time. It contains a fascinating exchange between Elvin Jones and Coltrane.
    “Impressions”, one of Coltrane’s most famous and oft-recorded compositions, is played here in a piano-less trio. In fact, McCoy Tyner lays out a number of times during this recording session. It’s one of the more interesting aspects of this session and reflects the harmonic possibilities that Coltrane was known to be discussing regularly with Ornette Coleman around this time.
    This studio session also yielded Coltrane’s first recording of “Nature Boy,” which he would record again in 1965, and the two versions differ greatly. The one we know is exploratory, meandering. This version is tight, solo-less and clocking in at just over three minutes. The other non-original composition on the album is “Vilia,” from Franz Lehár’s operetta “The Merry Widow”. The soprano version on the Deluxe Edition is the only track from this session to have been previously released.
    This incredible, once-in-a-lifetime discovery reveals a number of creative balances at work, like developing original melodies while rethinking familiar standards. Like trying out some tunes first on tenor saxophone, then on soprano. Using older techniques like the arpeggio runs of his “sheets of sound” while experimenting with false fingerings and other newer sounds. This session was pivotal, though to call it such overlooks the fact Coltrane was ever on pivot, always pushing the pedal down while still calling on older, tested ideas and devices.
    Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album is a major addition to the Coltrane catalogue and the most important jazz discovery in recent memory.


    The John Coltrane Quartet

    Africa / Brass

    Among the many albums which John Coltrane recorded for Impulse!, "Africa / Brass" - along with "A Love Supreme" - is probably one of his most important. One reason is that on the present album he deviates from a normal quartet formation and employs trumpets, four English horns, baritone sax, two euphoniums and a tuba. This instrumental combination produces a thick carpet of sound above which soar Coltrane's improvisations on the tenor saxophone. Between the two layers of sound is a continuous African rhythm, provided by the two bass players Art Davis and Reggie Workman who complement one another wonderfully. As to the studio and recording technique, the name Rudy Van Gelder says it all.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    LP Info: Limited 180g reissue with authentic replica gatefold sleeve artwork.

    To those vaguely familiar with the Coltrane name these recordings always come as a total surprise. The 1962 "Ballads" album is Coltrane at his coolest and most restrained. With McCoy Tyner on piano and Coltrane on tenor sax throughout, the two toy with some of the greatest slow tracks of the 20th Century. It's a million miles away from the remarkable later jazz of "Ascension" and "A Love Supreme" but is a wonderful reminder of his versatility and musicality.


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