Stories » John Coltrane's 'Both Directions & New Directions' makes ft*Meyers Magazine: Lost & Found

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John Coltrane's 'Both Directions & New Directions' makes ft*Meyers Magazine: Lost & Found

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No icon in the jazz pantheon is revered more than John Coltrane (Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker also occupy that stratosphere) and in recent months we have been blessed to see the release of several newly discovered recordings from 1958 and 1963, two pivital years in his career.

On March 6, 1963, John Coltrane, along with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones, recorded an album at the legendary Van Gelder Studios in New Jersey. Coltrane and his quartet were to perform the last gig in a two-week engagement at iconic jazz club Birdland across the river in New York City that night, and then went into the studio the very next day to record his famous album with Johnny Hartman.

This legendary Lost Album features two remarkable, never-heard-before originals, as well as the only studio version of Trane's ‘One Up, One Down' and a piano-less version of ‘Impressions,' one of his most famous compositions. It also includes new and different versions of his tunes, ‘Nature Boy' and ‘Slow Blues' and tackles ‘Vilia,' from the operetta The Merry Widow. The album features Coltrane's classic quartet at its most intense, experimenting with new arrangements and different instrumentation. Fans will be grateful to hear this session and will gain a fresh appreciation for the band at their peak, mastering bop traditions while exploring post-bop abstractions - going in "both directions at once," as Coltrane explained. And to think that it was all recorded in one afternoon! Sonny Rollins was spot on when he remarked, "This is like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid." The standard release includes seven tracks, chosen by his son, Ravi Coltrane. The deluxe edition includes an additional seven tracks from the session, different takes of four compositions (three takes of ‘Impressions').

Impulse has also released a 3-CD set that includes all 14 tracks of The Lost Album as well as music from other releases from 1963 - John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman, Dear Old Stockholm, Newport ‘63, and Live at Birdland. Among the masterpieces on these classic albums (all recorded in one year!) are ‘My Favorite Things' (an amazing 18-minute ride), ‘I Want to Talk About it,' ‘Lush Life' (with Hartman crooning at his most soulful), ‘Afro Blue' (one of the best performances on record) and ‘Alabama.' The set is a testament to Coltrane's creative genius and incredible output. 1963 was the year he transitioned from familiar sound to a more expanded view of jazz's experimental potential. These recordings are a prelude to the new directions Coltrane was about to embark on, a direction that lead to ‘A Love Supreme' and beyond.

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