domingo, 25 de julho de 2010

Duke Ellington & John Coltrane

  1. In A Sentimental Mood
  2. Take the Coltrane
  3. Big Nick
  4. Stevie
  5. My Little Brown Book
  6. Angelica
  7. The Feeling of Jazz
Duke & Coltrane
John Coltrane, tenor saxophone
Duke Ellington, piano
Jimmy Garrison, bass
Elvin Jones, drums
Sam Woodyard, drums
Aaron Bell, bass

Recorded September, 26th, 1962

Duke Ellington was the most important composer in the history of jazz as well as being a bandleader who held his large group together continuously for almost 50 years. The two aspects of his career were related; Ellington used his band as a musical laboratory for his new compositions and shaped his writing specifically to showcase the talents of his bandmembers, many of whom remained with him for long periods. Ellington also wrote film scores and stage musicals, and several of his instrumental works were adapted into songs that became standards. In addition to touring year in and year out, he recorded extensively, resulting in a gigantic body of work that was still being assessed a quarter century after his death.

Ellington was the son of a White House butler, James Edward Ellington, and thus grew up in comfortable surroundings. He began piano lessons at age seven and was writing music by his teens. He dropped out of high school in his junior year in 1917 to pursue a career in music. At first, he booked and performed in bands in the Washington, D.C., area, but in September 1923 the Washingtonians, a five-piece group of which he was a member, moved permanently to New York, where they gained a residency in the Times Square venue The Hollywood Club (later The Kentucky Club). They made their first recordings in November 1924, and cut tunes for different record companies under a variety of pseudonyms, so that several current major labels, notably Sony, Universal, and BMG, now have extensive holdings of their work from the period in their archives, which are reissued periodically.

The group gradually increased in size and came under Ellington's leadership. They played in what was called "jungle" style, their sly arrangements often highlighted by the muted growling sound of trumpeter James "Bubber" Miley. A good example of this is Ellington's first signature song, "East St. Louis Toodle-oo," which the band first recorded for Vocalion Records in November 1926, and which became their first chart single in a re-recorded version for Columbia in July 1927.

The Ellington band moved uptown to The Cotton Club in Harlem on December 4, 1927. Their residency at the famed club, which lasted more than three years, made Ellington a nationally known musician due to radio broadcasts that emanated from the bandstand. In 1928, he had two two-sided hits: "Black and Tan Fantasy"/"Creole Love Call" on Victor (now BMG) and "Doin' the New Low Down"/"Diga Diga Doo" on OKeh (now Sony), released as by the Harlem Footwarmers. "The Mooche" on OKeh peaked in the charts at the start of 1929.

While maintaining his job at The Cotton Club, Ellington took his band downtown to play in the Broadway musical Show Girl, featuring the music of George Gershwin, in the summer of 1929. The following summer, the band took a leave of absence to head out to California and appear in the film Check and Double Check. From the score, "Three Little Words," with vocals by the Rhythm Boys featuring Bing Crosby, became a number one hit on Victor in November 1930; its flip side, "Ring Dem Bells," also reached the charts.

The Ellington band left The Cotton Club in February 1931 to begin a tour that, in a sense, would not end until the leader's death 43 years later. At the same time, Ellington scored a Top Five hit with an instrumental version of one of his standards, "Mood Indigo" released on Victor. The recording was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. As "the Jungle Band," the Ellington Orchestra charted on Brunswick later in 1931 with "Rockin' in Rhythm" and with the lengthy composition "Creole Rhapsody," pressed on both sides of a 78 single, an indication that Ellington's goals as a writer were beginning to extend beyond brief works. (A second version of the piece was a chart entry on Victor in March 1932.) "Limehouse Blues" was a chart entry on Victor in August 1931, then in the winter of 1932, Ellington scored a Top Ten hit on Brunswick with one of his best-remembered songs, "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," featuring the vocals of Ivie Anderson. This was still more than three years before the official birth of the swing era, and Ellington helped give the period its name. Ellington's next major hit was another signature song for him, "Sophisticated Lady." His instrumental version became a Top Five hit in the spring of 1933, with its flip side, a treatment of "Stormy Weather," also making the Top Five.

The Ellington Orchestra made another feature film, Murder at the Vanities, in the spring of 1934. Their instrumental rendition of "Cocktails for Two" from the score hit number one on Victor in May, and they hit the Top Five with both sides of the Brunswick release "Moon Glow"/"Solitude" that fall. The band also appeared in the Mae West film Belle of the Nineties and played on the soundtrack of Many Happy Returns. Later in the fall, the band was back in the Top Ten with "Saddest Tale," and they had two Top Ten hits in 1935, "Merry-Go-Round" and "Accent on Youth." While the latter was scoring in the hit parade in September, Ellington recorded another of his extended compositions, "Reminiscing in Tempo," which took up both sides of two 78s. Even as he became more ambitious, however, he was rarely out of the hit parade, scoring another Top Ten hit, "Cotton," in the fall of 1935, and two more, "Love Is Like a Cigarette" and "Oh Babe! Maybe Someday," in 1936. The band returned to Hollywood in 1936 and recorded music for the Marx Brothers' film A Day at the Races and for Hit Parade of 1937. Meanwhile, they were scoring Top Ten hits with "Scattin' at the Kit-Kat" and the swing standard "Caravan," co-written by valve trombonist Juan Tizol, and Ellington was continuing to pen extended instrumental works such as "Diminuendo in Blue" and "Crescendo in Blue." "If You Were in My Place (What Would You Do?)," a vocal number featuring Ivie Anderson, was a Top Ten hit in the spring of 1938, and Ellington scored his third number one hit in April with an instrumental version of another standard, "I Let a Song Go out of My Heart." In the fall, he was back in the Top Ten with a version of the British show tune "Lambeth Walk."

The Ellington band underwent several notable changes at the end of the 1930s. After several years recording more or less regularly for Brunswick, Ellington moved to Victor. In early 1939 Billy Strayhorn, a young composer, arranger, and pianist, joined the organization. He did not usually perform with the orchestra, but he became Ellington's composition partner to the extent that soon it was impossible to tell where Ellington's writing left off and Strayhorn's began. Two key personnel changes strengthened the outfit with the acquisition of bassist Jimmy Blanton in September and tenor saxophonist Ben Webster in December. Their impact on Ellington's sound was so profound that their relatively brief tenure has been dubbed "the Blanton-Webster Band" by jazz fans. These various changes were encapsulated by the Victor release of Strayhorn's "Take the 'A' Train," a swing era standard, in the summer of 1941. The recording was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

That same summer, Ellington was in Los Angeles, where his stage musical, Jump for Joy, opened on July 10 and ran for 101 performances. Unfortunately, the show never went to Broadway, but among its songs was "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)," another standard. The U.S. entry into World War II in December 1941 and the onset of the recording ban called by the American Federation of Musicians in August 1942 slowed the Ellington band's momentum. Unable to record and with touring curtailed, Ellington found an opportunity to return to extended composition with the first of a series of annual recitals at Carnegie Hall on January 23, 1943, at which he premiered "Black, Brown and Beige." And he returned to the movies, appearing in Cabin in the Sky and Reveille with Beverly. Meanwhile, the record labels, stymied for hits, began looking into their artists' back catalogs. Lyricist Bob Russell took Ellington's 1940 composition "Never No Lament" and set a lyric to it, creating "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." The Ink Spots scored with a vocal version (recorded a cappella), and Ellington's three-year-old instrumental recording was also a hit, reaching the pop Top Ten and number one on the recently instituted R&B charts. Russell repeated his magic with another 1940 Ellington instrumental, "Concerto for Cootie" (a showcase for trumpeter Cootie Williams), creating "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me." Nearly four years after it was recorded, the retitled recording hit the pop Top Ten and number one on the R&B charts for Ellington in early 1944, while newly recorded vocal cover versions also scored. Ellington's vintage recordings became ubiquitous on the top of the R&B charts during 1943-1944; he also hit number one with "A Slip of the Lip (Can Sink a Ship)," "Sentimental Lady," and "Main Stem." With the end of the recording ban in November 1944, Ellington was able to record a song he had composed with his saxophonist, Johnny Hodges, set to a lyric by Don George and Harry James, "I'm Beginning to See the Light." The James recording went to number one in April 1945, but Ellington's recording was also a Top Ten hit.

With the end of the war, Ellington's period as a major commercial force on records largely came to an end, but unlike other big bandleaders, who disbanded as the swing era passed, Ellington, who predated the era, simply went on touring, augmenting his diminished road revenues with his songwriting royalties to keep his band afloat. In a musical climate in which jazz was veering away from popular music and toward bebop, and popular music was being dominated by singers, the Ellington band no longer had a place at the top of the business; but it kept working. And Ellington kept trying more extended pieces. In 1946, he teamed with lyricist John Latouche to write the music for the Broadway musical Beggar's Holiday, which opened on December 26 and ran 108 performances. And he wrote his first full-length background score for a feature film with 1950's The Asphalt Jungle.

The first half of the 1950s was a difficult period for Ellington, who suffered many personnel defections. (Some of those musicians returned later.) But the band made a major comeback at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 7, 1956, when they kicked into a version of "Dimuendo and Crescendo in Blue" that found saxophonist Paul Gonsalves taking a long, memorable solo. Ellington appeared on the cover of Time magazine, and he signed a new contract with Columbia Records, which released Ellington at Newport, the best-selling album of his career. Freed of the necessity of writing hits and spurred by the increased time available on the LP record, Ellington concentrated more on extended compositions for the rest of his career. His comeback as a live performer led to increased opportunities to tour, and in the fall of 1958 he undertook his first full-scale tour of Europe. For the rest of his life, he would be a busy world traveler.

Ellington appeared in and scored the 1959 film Anatomy of a Murder, and its soundtrack won him three of the newly instituted Grammy Awards, for best performance by a dance band, best musical composition of the year, and best soundtrack. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his next score, Paris Blues (1961). In August 1963, his stage work My People, a cavalcade of African-American history, was mounted in Chicago as part of the Century of Negro Progress Exposition.

Meanwhile, of course, he continued to lead his band in recordings and live performances. He switched from Columbia to Frank Sinatra's Reprise label (purchased by Warner Bros. Records) and made some pop-oriented records that dismayed his fans but indicated he had not given up on broad commercial aspirations. Nor had he abandoned his artistic aspirations, as the first of his series of sacred concerts, performed at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco on September 16, 1965, indicated. And he still longed for a stage success, turning once again to Broadway with the musical Pousse-Café, which opened on March 18, 1966, but closed within days. Three months later, the Sinatra film Assault on a Queen, with an Ellington score, opened in movie houses around the country. (His final film score, for Change of Mind, appeared in 1969.)

Ellington became a Grammy favorite in his later years. He won a 1966 Grammy for best original jazz composition for "In the Beginning, God," part of his sacred concerts. His 1967 album Far East Suite, inspired by a tour of the Middle and Far East, won the best instrumental jazz performance Grammy that year, and he took home his sixth Grammy in the same category in 1969 for And His Mother Called Him Bill, a tribute to Strayhorn, who had died in 1967. "New Orleans Suite" earned another Grammy in the category in 1971, as did "Togo Brava Suite" in 1972, and the posthumous The Ellington Suites in 1976.

Ellington continued to perform regularly until he was overcome by illness in the spring of 1974, succumbing to lung cancer and pneumonia. His death did not end the band, which was taken over by his son Mercer, who led it until his own death in 1996, and then by a grandson. Meanwhile, Ellington finally enjoyed the stage hit he had always wanted when the revue Sophisticated Ladies, featuring his music, opened on Broadway on March 1, 1981, and ran 767 performances.

The many celebrations of the Ellington centenary in 1999 demonstrated that he continued to be regarded as the major composer of jazz. If that seemed something of an anomaly in a musical style that emphasizes spontaneous improvisation over written composition, Ellington was talented enough to overcome the oddity. He wrote primarily for his band, allowing his veteran players room to solo within his compositions, and as a result created a body of work that seemed likely to help jazz enter the academic and institutional realms, which was very much its direction at the end of the 20th century. In that sense, he foreshadowed the future of jazz and could lay claim to being one of its most influential practitioners. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide

Despite a relatively brief career (he first came to notice as a sideman at age 29 in 1955, formally launched a solo career at 33 in 1960, and was dead at 40 in 1967), saxophonist John Coltrane was among the most important, and most controversial, figures in jazz. It seems amazing that his period of greatest activity was so short, not only because he recorded prolifically, but also because, taking advantage of his fame, the record companies that recorded him as a sideman in the 1950s frequently reissued those recordings under his name and there has been a wealth of posthumously released material as well. Since Coltrane was a protean player who changed his style radically over the course of his career, this has made for much confusion in his discography and in appreciations of his playing. There remains a critical divide between the adherents of his earlier, more conventional (if still highly imaginative) work and his later, more experimental work. No one, however, questions Coltrane's almost religious commitment to jazz or doubts his significance in the history of the music.

Coltrane was the son of John R. Coltrane, a tailor and amateur musician, and Alice (Blair) Coltrane. Two months after his birth, his maternal grandfather, the Reverend William Blair, was promoted to presiding elder in the A.M.E. Zion Church and moved his family, including his infant grandson, to High Point, NC, where Coltrane grew up. Shortly after he graduated from grammar school in 1939, his father, his grandparents, and his uncle died, leaving him to be raised in a family consisting of his mother, his aunt, and his cousin. His mother worked as a domestic to support the family. The same year, he joined a community band in which he played clarinet and E flat alto horn; he took up the alto saxophone in his high school band. During World War II, his mother, aunt, and cousin moved north to New Jersey to seek work, leaving him with family friends; in 1943, when he graduated from high school, he too headed north, settling in Philadelphia. Eventually, the family was reunited there.

While taking jobs outside music, Coltrane briefly attended the Ornstein School of Music and studied at Granoff Studios. He also began playing in local clubs. In 1945, he was drafted into the navy and stationed in Hawaii. He never saw combat, but he continued to play music and, in fact, made his first recording with a quartet of other sailors on July 13, 1946. A performance of Tadd Dameron's "Hot House," it was released in 1993 on the Rhino Records anthology The Last Giant. Coltrane was discharged in the summer of 1946 and returned to Philadelphia. That fall, he began playing in the Joe Webb Band. In early 1947, he switched to the King Kolax Band. During the year, he switched from alto to tenor saxophone. One account claims that this was as the result of encountering alto saxophonist Charlie Parker and feeling the better-known musician had exhausted the possibilities on the instrument; another says that the switch occurred simply because Coltrane next joined a band led by Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, who was an alto player, forcing Coltrane to play tenor. He moved on to Jimmy Heath's band in mid-1948, staying with the band, which evolved into the Howard McGhee All Stars until early 1949, when he returned to Philadelphia. That fall, he joined a big band led by Dizzy Gillespie, remaining until the spring of 1951, by which time the band had been trimmed to a septet. On March 1, 1951, he took his first solo on record during a performance of "We Love to Boogie" with Gillespie.

At some point during this period, Coltrane became a heroin addict, which made him more difficult to employ. He played with various bands, mostly around Philadelphia, during the early '50s, his next important job coming in the spring of 1954, when Johnny Hodges, temporarily out of the Duke Ellington band, hired him. But he was fired because of his addiction in September 1954. He returned to Philadelphia, where he was playing, when he was hired by Miles Davis a year later. His association with Davis was the big break that finally established him as an important jazz musician. Davis, a former drug addict himself, had kicked his habit and gained recognition at the Newport Jazz Festival in July 1955, resulting in a contract with Columbia Records and the opportunity to organize a permanent band, which, in addition to him and Coltrane, consisted of pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer "Philly" Joe Jones. This unit immediately began to record extensively, not only because of the Columbia contract, but also because Davis had signed with the major label before fulfilling a deal with jazz independent Prestige Records that still had five albums to run. The trumpeter's Columbia debut, 'Round About Midnight, which he immediately commenced recording, did not appear until March 1957. The first fruits of his association with Coltrane came in April 1956 with the release of The New Miles Davis Quintet (aka Miles), recorded for Prestige on November 16, 1955. During 1956, in addition to his recordings for Columbia, Davis held two marathon sessions for Prestige to fulfill his obligation to the label, which released the material over a period of time under the titles Cookin' (1957), Relaxin' (1957), Workin' (1958), and Steamin' (1961).

Coltrane's association with Davis inaugurated a period when he began to frequently record as a sideman. Davis may have been trying to end his association Prestige, but Coltrane began appearing on many of the label's sessions. After he became better known in the 1960s, Prestige and other labels began to repackage this work under his name, as if he had been the leader, a process that has continued to the present day. (Prestige was acquired by Fantasy Records in 1972, and many of the recordings in which Coltrane participated have been reissued on Fantasy's Original Jazz Classics [OJC] imprint.)

Coltrane tried and failed to kick heroin in the summer of 1956, and in October, Davis fired him, though the trumpeter had relented and taken him back by the end of November. Early in 1957, Coltrane formally signed with Prestige as a solo artist, though he remained in the Davis band and also continued to record as a sideman for other labels. In April, Davis fired him again. This may have given him the impetus finally to kick his drug habit, and freed of the necessity of playing gigs with Davis, he began to record even more frequently. On May 31, 1957, he finally made his recording debut as a leader, putting together a pickup band consisting of trumpeter Johnny Splawn, baritone saxophonist Sahib Shihab, pianists Mal Waldron and Red Garland (on different tracks), bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Al "Tootie" Heath. They cut an album Prestige titled simply Coltrane upon release in September 1957. (It has since been reissued under the title First Trane.)

In June 1957, Coltrane joined the Thelonious Monk Quartet, consisting of Monk on piano, Wilbur Ware on bass, and Shadow Wilson on drums. During this period, he developed a technique of playing several notes at once, and his solos began to go on longer. In August, he recorded material belatedly released on the Prestige albums Lush Life (1960) and The Last Trane (1965), as well as the material for John Coltrane With the Red Garland Trio, released later in the year. (It was later reissued under the title Traneing In.) But Coltrane's second album to be recorded and released contemporaneously under his name alone was cut in September for Blue Note Records. This was Blue Train, featuring trumpeter Lee Morgan, trombonist Curtis Fuller, pianist Kenny Drew, and the Miles Davis rhythm section of Chambers and "Philly" Joe Jones; it was released in December 1957. That month, Coltrane rejoined Davis, playing in what was now a sextet that also featured Cannonball Adderley. In January 1958, he led a recording session for Prestige that produced tracks later released on Lush Life, The Last Trane, and The Believer (1964). In February and March, he recorded Davis' album Milestones..., released later in 1958. In between the sessions, he cut his third album to be released under his name alone, Soultrane, issued in September by Prestige. Also in March 1958, he cut tracks as a leader that would be released later on the Prestige collection Settin' the Pace (1961). In May, he again recorded for Prestige as a leader, though the results would not be heard until the release of Black Pearls in 1964.

Coltrane appeared as part of the Miles Davis group at the Newport Jazz Festival in July 1958. The band's set was recorded and released in 1964 on an LP also featuring a performance by Thelonious Monk as Miles & Monk at Newport. In 1988, Columbia reissued the material on an album called Miles & Coltrane. The performance inspired a review in Down Beat, the leading jazz magazine, that was an early indication of the differing opinions on Coltrane that would be expressed throughout the rest of his career and long after his death. The review referred to his "angry tenor," which, it said, hampered the solidarity of the Davis band. The review led directly to an article published in the magazine on October 16, 1958, in which critic Ira Gitler defended the saxophonist and coined the much-repeated phrase "sheets of sound" to describe his playing.

Coltrane's next Prestige session as a leader occurred later in July 1958 and resulted in tracks later released on the albums Standard Coltrane (1962), Stardust (1963), and Bahia (1965). All of these tracks were later compiled on a reissue called The Stardust Session. He did a final session for Prestige in December 1958, recording tracks later released on The Believer, Stardust, and Bahia. This completed his commitment to the label, and he signed to Atlantic Records, doing his first recording for his new employers on January 15, 1959, with a session on which he was co-billed with vibes player Milt Jackson, though it did not appear until 1961 with the LP Bags and Trane.

In March and April 1959, Coltrane participated with the Davis group on the album Kind of Blue. Released on August 17, 1959, this landmark album known for its "modal" playing (improvisations based on scales or "modes," rather than chords) became one of the best-selling and most-acclaimed recordings in the history of jazz. In between the sessions for the album, Coltrane began recording what would be his Atlantic Records debut, Giant Steps, released in early 1960. The album, consisting entirely of Coltrane compositions, in a sense marked his real debut as a leading jazz performer, even though the 33-year-old musician had released three previous solo albums and made numerous other recordings. His next Atlantic album, Coltrane Jazz, was mostly recorded in November and December 1959 and released in February 1961. In April 1960, he finally left the Davis band and formally launched his solo career, beginning an engagement at the Jazz Gallery in New York, accompanied by pianist Steve Kuhn (soon replaced by McCoy Tyner), bassist Steve Davis, and drummer Pete La Roca (later replaced by Billy Higgins and then Elvin Jones). During this period, he increasingly played soprano saxophone as well as tenor.

In October 1960, Coltrane recorded a series of sessions for Atlantic that would produce material for several albums, including a final track used on Coltrane Jazz and tunes used on My Favorite Things (March 1961), Coltrane Plays the Blues (July 1962), and Coltrane's Sound (June 1964). His soprano version of "My Favorite Things," from the Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II musical The Sound of Music, would become a signature song for him. During the winter of 1960-1961, bassist Reggie Workman replaced Steve Davis in his band and saxophone and flute player Eric Dolphy, gradually became a member of the group.

In the wake of the commercial success of "My Favorite Things," Coltrane's star rose, and he was signed away from Atlantic as the flagship artist of the newly formed Impulse! Records label, an imprint of ABC-Paramount, though in May he cut a final album for Atlantic, Olé (February 1962). The following month, he completed his Impulse! debut, Africa/Brass. By this time, his playing was frequently in a style alternately dubbed "avant-garde," "free," or "The New Thing." Like Ornette Coleman, he played seemingly formless, extended solos that some listeners found tremendously impressive, and others decried as noise. In November 1961, John Tynan, writing in Down Beat, referred to Coltrane's playing as "anti-jazz." That month, however, Coltrane recorded one of his most celebrated albums, Live at the Village Vanguard, an LP paced by the 16-minute improvisation "Chasin' the Trane."

Between April and June 1962, Coltrane cut his next Impulse! studio album, another release called simply Coltrane when it appeared later in the year. Working with producer Bob Thiele, he began to do extensive studio sessions, far more than Impulse! could profitably release at the time, especially with Prestige and Atlantic still putting out their own archival albums. But the material would serve the label well after the saxophonist's untimely death. Thiele acknowledged that Coltrane's next three Impulse! albums to be released, Ballads, Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, and John Coltrane with Johnny Hartman (all 1963), were recorded at his behest to quiet the critics of Coltrane's more extreme playing. Impressions (1963), drawn from live and studio recordings made in 1962 and 1963, was a more representative effort, as was 1964's Live at Birdland, also a combination of live and studio tracks, despite its title. But Crescent, also released in 1964, seemed to find a middle ground between traditional and free playing, and was welcomed by critics. This trend was continued with 1965's A Love Supreme, one of Coltrane's best-loved albums, which earned him two Grammy nominations, for jazz composition and performance, and became his biggest-selling record. Also during the year, Impulse! released the standards collection The John Coltrane Quartet Plays... and another album of "free" playing, Ascension, as well as New Thing at Newport, a live album consisting of one side by Coltrane and the other by Archie Shepp.

1966 saw the release of the albums Kulu Se Mama and Meditations, Coltrane's last recordings to appear during his lifetime, though he had finished and approved release for his next album, Expression, the Friday before his death in July 1967. He died suddenly of liver cancer, entering the hospital on a Sunday and expiring in the early morning hours of the next day. He had left behind a considerable body of unreleased work that came out in subsequent years, including "Live" at the Village Vanguard Again! (1967), Om (1967), Cosmic Music (1968), Selflessness (1969), Transition (1969), Sun Ship (1971), Africa/Brass, Vol. 2 (1974), Interstellar Space (1974), and First Meditations (For Quartet) (1977), all on Impulse! Compilations and releases of archival live recordings brought him a series of Grammy nominations, including Best Jazz Performance for the Atlantic album The Coltrane Legacy in 1970; Best Jazz Performance, Group, and Best Jazz Performance, Soloist, for "Giant Steps" from the Atlantic album Alternate Takes in 1974; and Best Jazz Performance, Group, and Best Jazz Performance, Soloist, for Afro Blue Impressions in 1977. He won the 1981 Grammy for Best Jazz Performance, Soloist, for Bye Bye Blackbird, an album of recordings made live in Europe in 1962, and he was given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992, 25 years after his death.

John Coltrane is sometimes described as one of jazz's most influential musicians, but one is hard put to find followers who actually play in his style. Rather, he is influential by example, inspiring musicians to experiment, take chances, and devote themselves to their craft. The controversy about his work has never died down, but partially as a result, his name lives on and his recordings continue to remain available and to be reissued frequently. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide

For this classic encounter, Duke Ellington "sat in" with the John Coltrane Quartet for a set dominated by Ellington's songs; some performances have his usual sidemen (bassist Aaron Bell and drummer Sam Woodyard) replacing Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones in the group. Although it would have been preferable to hear Coltrane play in the Duke Ellington orchestra instead of the other way around, the results are quite rewarding. Their version of "In a Sentimental Mood" is a high point, and such numbers as "Take the Coltrane," "Big Nick," and "My Little Brown Book" are quite memorable. Ellington always recognized talent, and Coltrane seemed quite happy to be recording with a fellow genius. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

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