Saturday, October 1, 2011

John Coltrane - Transition

The title of this album fits perfectly for John Coltrane was certainly at an important transitional point in his career at the time. Although he was still utilizing the same quartet that he had had for over three years (pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones) and his music had always been explorative, now he was taking his solos one step beyond into passionate atonality, usually over simple but explosive vamps. Other than the tender ballad "Welcome," most of this set is uncompromisingly intense; in fact, the closing nine-minute "Vigil" is a fiery tenor-drums duet. The 21-minute "Suite," even with sections titled "Prayer and Meditiation: Day" and "Affirmation," is not overly peaceful. It must have seemed clear, even at this early point, that Tyner and perhaps Jones would not be with the band much longer. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

For the John Coltrane Quartet, 1965 marked a period of intensely accelerated change. It was at this time that Coltrane began his final creative ascent, uncoupling the characteristic ingredients of his style - modal transmogrification, anguished overtones, incantatory skips and repetition - from the moorings of the popular song form. His later works, seemingly shorn of any kinship to prevailing jazz idioms, became explicitly primal, mystical and redemptive. The music of the Coltrane ensembles from late 1965 until his death two years later remains challenging and enigmatic even now, a quarter century later. The recordings that comprise 'Transition' show the JCQ at its most ecstatically unanimous. Still organized around recognizable structures, the first three sections of 'Transition' are vehicles for what was surely the hardest swinging small group of all time. Tyner, Garrison, and Jones churn behind Trane as never before, spinning complex webs of polyrhythmicity into stunning cadences. For his part, Coltrane soars above, around, and through them with some of the most abundantly inventive, panoramic solos he ever managed to capture on record. Like most great works of art, 'Transition' cannot be completely assimilated on first encounter. Completely organic and self-contained, it continues to reveal its glories over years of repeated listening. I've been companioned by it for 30 years, and it moves me more, and differently, now than ever before. 'Transition' is beyond jazz, beyond category - it is a music of awakening, a glorious window on the soul. Don't live your life without it! - by Chip Hartanft, Amazon.com

Artist: John Coltrane
Album: Transition
Year: 1965
Label: Impulse! (Remastered, 1993)
Runtime: 52:17

Tracks:
1.  Transition 15:30 
2.  Welcome 5:24 
3.  Suite: a) Prayer and Meditation: Day b) Peace After c) Prayer and Meditation: Evening d) Affirmation e) Prayer and Meditation: 4 A.M. 21:21
4.  Vigil 9:59 
All compositions by J. Coltrane

Personnel:
John Coltrane (Tenor Saxophone)
Elvin Jones (Drums)
McCoy Tyner (Piano) - 1-3
Jimmy Garrison (Double Bass) - 1-3

5 comments:

  1. this lp sometimes gets overlooked in the greater coltrane canon, but i've always felt that it was an important recording. transition is a most appropriate title, and for me this signaled an exciting change to come. thanks for sharing this.

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