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John Coltrane

Trane 90

Review by G. W. Hill
This four CD set was released in honor of the 90th birthday of the late, great, John Coltrane. It's quite an intriguing disc. It is divided into four parts, one part to each CD. The first set finds Coltrane as a sideman with other people's bands. Disc two sees his work with his own band. The third disc features collaborations with other artists. The final CD is all live with recordings from different acts. All in all, this is a diverse and worthwhile set. It also includes a cool booklet that's almost fifty pages in length. They really did the man proud.
Track by Track Review
CD 1: Stablemates: Coltrane the Sideman
Stablemates - The Miles Davis Quintet - I really love the bass work on this. Of course, you can't forget the horns, either. This is a cool mid-tempo jazz groove that works extremely well. There is some great expansive jamming later in the cut.
Trane's Blues - The Miles Davis Quintet

This energetic groove is all class. As strong as the opening tune was, I like this even more. I really love the piano soloing on this thing, too. The bass gets the opportunity to shine, in a killer solo later, as well.

Dear Old Stockholm - The Miles Davis Quintet -
Another classy jazz number, this features a cool bass and drum work out in the middle of it. It's another killer tune.
Well, You Needn't - The Miles Davis Quintet
Fast paced and very classy, I really like this one a lot. In fact, of these first four from the MDQ, I think this is my favorite. It just really works so well. A bass, drums and piano motif takes it mid-track for a cool jam.
Monk's Mood - Thelonious Monk Trio

Piano opens this and moves it forward through some varying themes and modes. In fact, the first two and a half minutes or so are just piano. Then the other instruments join. This is a slow moving and rather magical bit of jazz that just oozes class.

Trinkle Tinkle- Thelonious Monk Trio
Now, this high energy tune is so cool. It's a real highlight of this first CD. Not only is the driving groove a winner, but it has some exceptional soloing. I really love the bass work later in the piece.
Straight, No Chaser - The Miles Davis Sextet
This is fast paced, high energy and incredibly cool. It's one of the strongest tunes on show on this first disc. I really love all of the jamming on this thing. It goes through some interesting shifts and changes. Different instruments drive different parts of it.  
So What - The Miles Davis Sextet
The melodies and hooks on this are great. The whole jam just really grooves in an exceptional way. It's a classy number for certain.
On Green Dolphin Street - The Miles Davis Quintet
I love the energy and the melodies on this one. It has some great soloing, too, but that’s a given. The piano solo stands out nicely here.
CD 2 - Straight Street - Coltrane the Leader
                   

Straight Street

There is more of an adventurous groove to this than we heard on the opening CD. I love the start and stop kind of element here. The whole tune just grooves so well. The soloing is top-notch, too. The rhythm section swings while the horn sings. The piano brings some intriguing touches to it, too.

Moment's Notice
As great as the last cut was, this blows it away. There is such great energy and soloing right out of the gate. It's a jazz powerhouse for sure. I dig the piano driven section mid-track, but the horns are the main magic here.
Good Bait
A slower, more playful vibe starts this and moves it forward. The bass solo mid-track is a great touch. The whole piece showcases a number of modes and moods as it continues. As always, we get some great soloing from all involved.
Giant Steps
Fast paced and on the verge of crazed, the jamming on this is just so strong. It's definitely a standout of the whole set.
Naima
This slow moving number is rather mellow and quite pretty. It's definitely a great jazz ballad.
Blues To Bechet
This mid-tempo groove has some particularly inspired jamming.  It wanders a bit toward the noisy end of the spectrum, but in a good way, really.
Africa
This is a really freaky kind of number at the start and again as it approaches the end. It has some weird bits of sound perching over the top in those places. That said, the main melody and drive still manages to take control and drive in more mainstream melodic jazz directions. Coltrane is purely on fire here. This is a 16 and a half minute opus. As you might guess, they use that time to really move in a number of directions. There is an extensive unaccompanied drum solo included in those directions.
Chasin' The Trane
This powers in fast paced and inspired. It's rather on fire as it makes its way forward. There is some particularly impressive drumming in parts of this, but everything here is built to impress, really. At a bit over 16 minutes in length, this is of nearly as epic a scope as the last number was. It gets pretty crazed and also makes great use of all that room.
CD 3: Just Friends - Coltrane Collaborations
                     

Tenor Madness - Sonny Rollins

Hot jazz built over a cool groove is the concept here. It includes some great horn playing and just some tasty sounds throughout. It has a cool bass solo later in the track, too. At over 12 minutes of length, this is the longest tune on this CD of the set. It has some awesome horn work in the midst of that duration, too.

Bob’s Boys - Prestige All-Stars feat. Al Cohn, Hank Mobley and Zoot Sims
More of an old school jazz sound drives this groove. I love the bass playing that drives the backdrop. Of course, the horns shine brightly here.
Soultrane - Tadd Dameron
Piano leads this out here. This is a slow moving jazz ballad that's packed with emotion. It's sultry and potent. The piano is essentially the lead instrument of this cut, but it is willing to let go of command at times.
Two Bass Hit - The Red Garland Quintet
Energetic jazz is the order of business here. I love this tune, really. It has such cool soloing and such a satisfying backing groove. This has both a bass solo and a drum excursion.
Pristine - Art Blakey Quintet
Mainstream melodic jazz is the concept here. This is an effective and accessible piece of music. It really has some great vibes and melodies built into it.
West 42nd Street - Wilbur Harden Quintet
A swinging soft jazz groove drives this melodic excursion. There is is some particularly cool piano soloing and then the bass takes over for a bit in fine fashion.
Manhattan - George Russell Orchestra
As the horns bring this in, it feels a bit like something from a Broadway musical. This works forward in fine fashion, but then drops way back to like an old school blues kind of piece. There are definitely elements of the type of stuff Louis Armstrong used to do it as it moves forward. As it powers back up it's more of a big band kind of treatment. This thing really gets into some killer jamming as it works its way forward.
Just Friends - Cecil Taylor Quintet
I love the energy and jazz vibe on this piece. It is another with some killer soloing. The drums do a great job of driving the tune, too.
Bags & Trane - Milt Jackson and John Coltrane
I love the vibes on this thing. The bass driving it is killer, too. The whole piece just oozes cool. In fact, this might not be the most fiery thing here, but it's one of my favorites of the whole set. Coltrane really drives a lot of the second half of this.
Grand Central - The Cannonball Adderley Quintet
This fast paced jazz jam is a lot of fun. It's packed with energy, and really does fit the title.
CD 4 Impressions - Coltrane Broadcasts and Private Tapes
                    

Birk’s Works - The Dizzy Gillespie Septet

This is very much old school jazz. It has some great vibes and energy. The sound quality isn't as good on this as it is on some of the rest. That factor tends to detract from the tune. The recording feels distant and a bit detached. Stiil, there is some great instrumental work from all players on this thing.

Don’t Blame Me - Johnny Hodges and His Orchestra
Here's another where the audio quality doesn't quite work as well as it should. This time, though, it doesn't feel distant. Instead, the audience is a bit too loud in the recording. This is a slow balladic tune that works pretty darned well.
Max is Making Wax - The Miles Davis Quintet
Fast paced and suitably scorching hot in terms of both jamming and little shifts and turns, this is so great. The recording suffers a bit at the start, but once they really kick into gear it seems to get better.
Tune Up - The Miles Davis Quintet
Again, the sound quality is just a bit of an issue, but the performance really makes up for it. The tune is high energy and the jamming is great.
Bye Bye Blackbird - The Miles Davis Quintet
The sound quality seems much better on this recording. The tune is a bit slower and less incendiary. It has some good soloing, though.
My Favourite Things

The studio version of this is probably my favorite jazz song on my favorite jazz album. They bring this one in with style here. The recording is great, too. This is nearly as strong in this live rendering as it is on the studio album. They do some awesome explorations of the musical melodies and themes of this thing. It is so similar in so many ways to that classic version, too.

Impressions
The recording quality here leaves a bit to be desired at times. The jamming it top-notch, though. This is a real powerhouse tune. There is some particularly powerful energized jamming here, really.
Body and Soul
They put in a great rendition of this classic song. It's inspired and powerful.
 
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