Les qualificatifs ne suffisent pas pour cette somme Cotranienne. Des disques parfaitements restaurés pour un voyage au coeur du Mythe de celui que d'aucuns considèrent comme le plus grand musicien de Jazz de tout les temps. Trop volumineux pour être totalement indispensable pour les néophites,mais essentiel pour les fans. On appréciera en particulier l'évolution musicale du quartet, tendant vers toujours plus d'abstraction, au fil des enregistrements.
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60 internautes sur 62 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Great Music - Acceptable Packaging3 février 2004
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The music on this 8 CD set is beyond praise, containing all of the material that Coltrane recorded in the studio for Impulse, though not anything that included any additional horns. The Dolphy cuts, which were mostly live, are not included, and neither are the albums with Ellington or Johnny Hartman. But otherwise, this is representative of Coltrane at his most influential. Included are the complete sessions that would become the albums; Coltrane, Ballads, Cresent, A Love Supreme, The John Coltrane Quartet Plays, Transition, Sunship, Infinity, and First Meditations, along with cuts from some of the other albums that are primarily live, such as Impressions or Live at Birdland. This music can arguably be considered the most important music of the last 40 years, as the Classic Quartet probably had more influence on the course of jazz and rock than any other single group in the history of American popular music. So the crux of the review here is on packaging. The CDs are presented in a bound, book-style case with an extensive liner booklet. The whole is then encased in a rather ugly metal framing. Gone are any references to the distinctive original artwork of the Impulse albums. However, the book style case does have the advantage of keeping the individual CDs together, making it harder to loose them. The cuts themselves are not presented as albums but rather in the order they originally were recorded. This has the advantage of allowing you to hear the story of the group's growth, from the first rather conservative albums Trane made to the brink of his late style on albums like Sunship. Fortunately, both the suites A Love Supreme and First Meditations were recorded in sequence and are presented as such, but to experience any of the other albums as they were first released requires extensive reprogramming. While this is not personally a big issue to me, it may be to some listeners and so I give you fair warning. The final disc in the set consists of alternative takes of many of the studio sessions. I do appreciate that fact that the producers put these alternative takes on a separate CD rather than interspersing them with the other material. These takes are interesting for documentary purposes, but there are solid reasons why they were rejected and I find that I don't listen to this disc as much as I do the others in the series. If you already have most of the Impulse albums of Trane, this is a boxed set you should pass over. There's nothing new here that you wouldn't have in some other form, and the alternate takes are certainly not worth the price. But if you only have a few of Trane's classic Impulse albums, then this is probably a good buy for you, along with the Complete Live at the Village Vanguard sessions. Between the two, you get a wonderful portrait of this seminal band. But keep in mind these two caveats; you don't get the original artwork and liner notes with this set, and you need to do extensive programming to recreate the albums as they were released (and in fact, with some of the mixed live and studio albums, you need both boxed sets to do this). I give the set five stars because of the music. I cannot in good conscience do less...but if the packaging is a big issue to you, you might take away a star and a half for that.
33 internautes sur 34 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
An important compilation...but not without its problems.1 avril 2001
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Hard to add much to the comments [...] concerning the beauties of the music contained in this set. I do feel somewhat ambivalent about this particular reissue, however; the casual listener may still find it more satisfying to possess the original albums in their current remastered CD format. This set is physically quite beautiful: a silver metal slipcover encloses a leatherbound folder that contains eight CDs in pockets and a perfectbound booklet whose primary colour is silver. But this repackaging displaces a number of important features of the original albums. The truly inexcusable thing here is the suppression of the original liner notes, in particular that to _A Love Supreme_. The notes to that album were written by Coltrane himself, fittingly for his most personal and ambitious album to date: & they included a deeply felt free-verse prayer he wrote which is given musical utterance in the final section of the piece. (Literally so: you can follow along with the text as you listen to the music, each note corresponding to a word.) & the evocative covers of the original albums are nowhere reproduced in the booklet. It's bizarre that the organizers of this boxed set had no difficulties in deleting all such historically important material from this reissue, while meanwhile completely rearranging the tracks in order of their being set down in the studio, as is the current pedantic fashion in reissues. The result of this reordering is to damage the integrity of albums (& again, it was _Coltrane_ who decided on the running order of the albums). Even the author of the liner notes to this set, Bob Blumenthal, admits that one album here, _Ballads_, is "a beautiful album-length statement" & that "Generations of listeners have enjoyed the original LP order". So why mess with it, given that rearranging the tracks provides minimal insight into the sessions? The vapidly reverent tone of Blumenthal's booklet sits ill at ease with the lack of reverence for Coltrane's intentions & even for Coltrane's words. (Hard to believe Blumenthal won an award for the liner notes, which are bland & uninformative, though they have the occasional entertaining goof, as when he speaks of "the metabolic sweep of this eloquent performance". Very disappointing, given the superb notes by David Wild to the Vanguard set.) Now, the music. The set basically splits into two phases: material from 1961-64 and a huge amount of material from 1965; the split comes almost exactly halfway through the set (on disc 3), between _A Love Supreme_ & _Plays_. The material on the first three or four discs is mostly very familiar, being some of the most famous recordings of Coltrane's career: _Ballads_, _Crescent_, _Coltrane_ & _A Love Supreme_ (plus the studio portions of _Live at Birdland_ & _Impressions_, & a few other odds & ends). Though Coltrane was as always exploring, the first few of these albums represent something of a temporary resting-point in his career: they are less exploratory than the 1961 Vanguard sessions, often keeping to a slow-to-medium groove & a lofty but impassioned tone that has finally left his furious "sheets of sound" approach way behind. _A Love Supreme_ is the turning-point, with its ambitious use of the suite form, & its programmatically wide emotional & musical range: while it has some of the wildest & fastest playing on the set up to this point, it concludes with "Psalm", a ballad which points the way to free-time exercises like "Dearly Beloved" in the future. After this point, the group changes direction, and despite Blumenthal's protestations in the liner notes it does indeed sound like the quartet becomes less & less unified as Coltrane increasingly looks for a new, freer music. There's an extraordinary amount of material from 1965 here, much of it unreleased until after Coltrane's death. Some of it is rather aimless modal exercises, some not even titled ("Untitled Original 90314" and "90320"). Sometimes Coltrane has the band essay "free" accompaniment during his solos, but Tyner reverts to conventional time playing & chords during his solos. Jones clearly isn't too comfortable playing in completely free time (see, for instance, "Sun Ship")--& indeed he never really got the hang of that style (cf. his often awkward attempt to revisit it on _Momentum Space_, a recent trio disc with Dewey Redman & Cecil Taylor). Nonetheless, there's much meat to be picked out of these sessions (which were released on albums like _Transition_, _Living Space_ & _Sun Ship_), like the fine "Vigil" (a sax-drums duo) or the gentle "Dearly Beloved", or the superb flat-out performances (with Roy Haynes subbing for Jones) on "After the Crescent" and "One Down, One Up". The best album of the 1965 discs is the unjustly little-known _First Meditations_, a quartet performance of a suite better known in the version later recorded with Pharoah Sanders & Rashied Ali added to the basic group. This version includes "Joy", which was dropped from the suite for the sextet version (& replaced with the incredibly harsh "The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost"); it's extremely welcome to have here. Coltrane's music perhaps too rarely expressed sheer "joy": it is a music of great radiance & nobility, but its devotion to the higher spiritual plane didn't have the celebratory, joyous whoop of Ayler's rather differently devotional music, for instance (see Ayler's Greenwich Village sessions), or the purely secular joy of Ornette Coleman. _First Meditations_ is thus all the more valuable for its emotional roundedness. Lastly, I should comment on the final disc: this contains previously unreleased alternate takes & studio breakdowns. This is extremely welcome: the most valuable inclusions are fresh versions of "Crescent" & "Resolution" which are nearly as thrilling to listen to as the originals. This set is basically an important scholarly document that because of financial exigencies has been packaged like a coffee-table book. Its real importance is in putting all this stuff in one place, in particular the more obscure 1965 material, & recovering some interesting alternate takes. Nonetheless, listeners would be well-advised to consider the reissues of the original albums as the best way to listen to the more "classic" albums on this set. Those who find "later" Coltrane hard going are also warned that this set has a fair bit of such material: they will likely find little after disc 3 to their taste...though they might benefit from some openmindedness.
25 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
An essential set of recordings20 avril 2001
- Publié sur Amazon.com
In some ways it's almost silly to comment on the content of this set. Those who are Trane fans will understand immediately the import of this collection; those who are casual fans will likely not want to bear the expense of making the purchase. I found myself in a different area. I had nearly all of the material on vinyl. Since I'd played much of it heavily, this release was a welcome way to upgrade at one fell swoop. Despite my familiarity with the material, I found the package was very well put together. I understand the criticism that live material from the Birdland and Village Vanguard lps are not included, but I think the criticism is invalid. First of all, the notes make clear up front that this is a release dedicated exlusively to the quartet of Trane, Tyner, Garrison and Jones, and those live recordings featured Roy Haynes on drums, in the first case, and Eric Dolphy on reeds in the second. In addition, Impulse has released the Vanguard sessions in a multidisc set and points out that that session is an essential companion to this release. The decision to arrange the tracks in chronological order bothers me not one whit, and this is where the preference of the individual listener comes particularly into play. I am so familiar with the original ordering of tracks and the tunes themselves that I find it informative to listen to the tunes in the order that they were conceived -- at least from a recording perspective. The ordering, for me, is in fact one of the strongest features of the release. More than any other artist that I know of, Coltrane was driven by change. Hearing the tracks in chronological order offers a revealing insight into his creative process. The key to approaching this set lies, in my opinion, in closely reading and following the fine liner notes provided by Bob Blumenthal and by the discography. Blumenthal offers insightful comments about the quartet and the tunes and also mentions programming changes the listener can make for comparisons or if he or she wants to listen to tracks in the order they were originally released. As for the music, well, as I said, if you are a fan, you don't need me to tell you the richness that is contained within this set. To review the music would require more space than is permitted. If you are not prepared for more than eight hours of very intense, probing music, don't bother. Still, for a revealing look at the complexity of Coltrane's approach, I recommend in particular discs 1, 2 and 5. The first two show his ability to handle ballads in the midst of exploring what were then the outer reaches of jazz. The fifth -- although this could be said of discs 6 and 7 as well -- demonstrate, for the listener willing to engage his journey, that the most challenging of sounds can be accessible for those willing to open their minds to new sounds.
19 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
ESSENTIAL, BUT NEEDS A RE-DO16 avril 2008
Mark E. Farrington
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Posting a "review" or "critique" of such music? Might as well toss off another review of Merton's Seven Storey Mountain, New Seeds or Asian Journal- and pat myself on the back for CONTRIBUTING something. (To quote Churchill : "slush, mush, and gush." ) But since I've already posted reviews of the Pablo LIVE TRANE set and Merton's INNER EXPERIENCE, you can call me a hypocrite if you want.
Still, I will mention that the transfers are stellar, and the content of this box is as complete as it could have been at the time of its release, in 1998. But since then, and in the wake of producer Bob Thiele's death, some additonal tape sources from his collection have come to light. If I am not mistaken, these include :
1) The tape masters of this Classic Quartet's very first studio date in December 1961, including four alternate takes of "Greensleeves", done "a la My Favorite Things". Sadly, the first-generation tape master of the best, Trane-chosen take (i.e., the one which was issued on 45 RPM in 1962) remains lost. This means that, for both this boxed set and the later, deluxe edition of BALLADS, a vinyl copy of the issued "45" had to be dubbed.
2) Additional takes from the 1962 COLTRANE and BALLADS sessions, including two relatively short, studio versions of "Impressions" and a newly discovered piece called "Not Yet".
3) A newly discovered tape source for A LOVE SUPREME (December 9, 1964). Until 2002, what we had been hearing was from a 3rd generation tape with added compression and equalization - not to mention a left channel flaw at the beginning of the third track. But a flawless, non-equalized, non-compressed tape source, only one generation down from the original master, was located in EMI's London vaults. (It had been sent there as the basis for British LP pressings.)
Yes, gentle reader, the first-generation tape masters for not only the preferred take of "Greensleeves", the original COLTRANE and CRESCENT albums, but even for A LOVE SUPREME - the album which not only changed countless lives but probably made Coltrane AND Impulse more moola than any other - were reportedly ERASED. (Whoever made that "executive decision" gets my vote for the ANNUAL 'HECKUVA JOB, BROWNIE' AWARD.)
Now, I am NOT one of those "original cover art" fanatics - with the exception of the unsurpassedly beautiful album covers which Alex Steinweiss created for Columbia Masterworks, in the late 1930s to early 50s. (He's still alive and kicking : God bless him.) And of course the unique 50s-60s, "post-Bauhaus" Blue Note covers of Reid Miles...But I have to agree with the other reviewers who find this set's metal packaging to be graceless and UGLY.
Even worse, the provided "notebook" sleeves tend to scuff the discs. (Upon purchasing this set, I immediately rescued the discs by placing them in seperate jewel boxes.) WHEN will you CD marketing people ever outgrow these "clever" absurdities? As if, for all the world, you were aiming a Heavy Metal boxed set at the early-to-mid-teen market? In a full-price historical re-issue, yet? Why should it be "asking too much" to demand packaging worthy of John Coltrane : something durable, "disc-safe," AND clean and simple?
"Classic Coltrane Quartet Completists" (look, Ma - alliteration) who own this set will also have to purchase the subsequent 2-CD deluxe editions of the COLTRANE and BALLADS albums. The new BALLADS tracks are not ABSOLUTELY essential Trane...I have to agree with the reviewer who wrote that seven alternate takes of "It's Easy To Remember" may be too much of a good thing. Not to mention that "Greensleves" works only so well, "a la My Favorite Things," to sit through five takes of it - in spite of the Dorian modality common to both tunes. But the new COLTRANE tracks ("Miles' Mode", "Tunji", "Not Yet", and those two short "Impressions") are obviously more "central" to the Coltrane Canon. For instance, the pristine drive and ELAN of the alternate take of "Miles' Mode", and almost unearthly "groove" which the Quartet reaches in "Not Yet" - captured in astoundingly visceral sound quality - must be heard to be believed. In any case, for completists who must have it ALL, it's out there.
A WARNING : Over 60 percent of this set is composed of the Classic Quartet's final - and highly prolific - sessions of February through September 1965. So if you just aren't into the post-LOVE SUPREME period, but you feel ready for a boxed set of Trane in which to "lose yourself," then you may want to go with the Pablo LIVE TRANE set (Euro concerts from 1961 to 1963)...Then, the Impulse discs : the deluxe edition of COLTRANE, LIVE AT BIRDLAND, CRESCENT and the latest transfer of A LOVE SUPREME. And if post-SUPREME Trane still scares you, then by all means, check out TRANSITION for perhaps the best and most lucid of the post-SUPREME works. (The February '65 tracks which made up the album immediatley following SUPREME - THE COLTRANE QUARTET PLAYS - are actually darker, more dense and harmonically "outside" than some of the work which came just afterwards.)
Granted : overall, the 1965 sessions are a challenge for even the most sympathetic listener (you wouldn't play these at a dinner party), but they give back far more to the listener than they initially demand...which is why I recommend TRANSITION. The "Suite" (June 10, 1965) is a kind of abbreviated, slightly wilder LOVE SUPREME, and for those who will brave it, "Vigil" (June 16, 1965), a duet for Trane and drummer Elvin Jones, is a safe gateway to the post-Quartet Trane (e.g., the February '67 INTERSTELLAR SPACE tracks). But I especially recommend the other two TRANSITION tracks as ESSENTIAL listening - even for those who "want no part of" post-SUPREME Trane : (1) "Welcome" (June 10, 1965) is similar to the 1963 "After the Rain", but more serene. It strikes me (and many others) as a stretch of hard-won peace : a tranquil island, if you will, in the midst of an increasingly stormy tonal sea. By comparison, the gentler and better known "Dear Lord" (May 26, 1965) is less compelling. (2) To me, perhaps more than any other single recording, the title-track "Transition" (June 10, 1965) is the very essence of Coltrane and of his Classic Quartet. Even before you get to the improvised solos, the D-Phrygian-mode "head" melody is in itself a ruthlessly honest, yet pleading, kind of exploration : bristling and burning, yet lucid and internally CLEANSING. Constantly pushing the "natural" boundries of the tenor sax, Trane aims for notes higher than the instrument is designed to produce - and sometimes gets there. This reaches a culmination from about 11:18 to 12:15, where Trane seems to be caught in a ferocious battle between his inner angels (normal register) and demons ("paranormal," higher register). Listen to this track a few times, each day, for a week, and 'psychotherapy' or 'anger management' may become redundant.
Still, those who truly care about Trane - whether or not they own this boxed set - WILL need to pick up the latest, closer-to-the-source remastering of A LOVE SUPREME (with or without the additional, live 1965 version). The improved tone quality and immediacy IS worth it.
For two essential reasons ( 1 - newly discovered tape masters and 2 - combersome, disc-scuffing packaging), this boxed set could stand a re-do. If it happened, I'd be the first to not only eat crow, but Give Thanks. (Meanwhile, the blue boy in the corner, holding his breath?...That'd be me.)
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
I Don't Have To Hear This!12 octobre 1999
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I've never heard this collection. But before you ignore my review, listen to this-- I own, individually, EVERY album in this collection, and many other Coltrane recordings as well. I'm telling you now, this box set is the Holy Grail to me-- if it had been released three years ago I could have saved a bundle of money by buying it. Here are ALL the essential Coltrane recordings. In my opinion, this was his only ensemble (excepting possibly the one with Paul Chambers) that actually sounded like a real band. These guys are the real article, the old masters of the new sound. Elvin Jones, especially, should get an honorary degree from every percussion school in the world for the drumming he did on this material. If you think of jazz as mellow, uptight, or boring, this is the collection that will change your mind. Trust me. You'll be glad you did.