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John Coltrane hangs like a pendulum between ages on 'Both Directions At Once' / Goldenplec

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On ‘Both Directions At Once,' John Coltrane hangs like a pendulum between ages, swinging from his past to his future and back again. Ahead of him there was avant-garde jazz – ‘A Love Supreme' and ‘Ascension.' Behind him was bebop – ‘Blue Train' and ‘Giant Steps.' And, lost for decades, there was this record. The missing link between the two generations.

All the spontaneity of great jazz is present on ‘Both Directions At Once.' Coltrane turns on pennies during his solos, moving from the past to the future and back again in a breath. The dissonant techniques adopted by future free jazz players like Albert Ayler make occasional appearances. And are followed by phrases of the past's bebop mastery. On Impressions, pianist McCoy Tyner lays out, letting Coltrane explore the outer realms of Ornette Coleman's harmolodics. But Coltrane's playing in the opening bars, far from sounding inaccessible or inscrutable, stands up as great bebop. Then he turns on his heel and frees up his playing, flying for the heavens on his saxophone.

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