Essential Albums: Lush Life/Soultrane/Stardust/Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane [4-CD Box]

John Coltrane

Essential Albums Lush LifeSoultraneStardustKenny B
  • CAT # PRS-33203-02

    DISC ONE  
    1. Like Someone In Love 5:01
    2. I Love You 5:33
    3. Trane's Slo Blues 6:06
    4. Lush Life 14:00
    5. I Hear A Rhapsody 6:02
    DISC TWO  
    1. Good Bait 12:09
    2. I Want To Talk About You 10:55
    3. You Say You Care 6:16
    4. Theme For Ernie 4:55
    5. Russian Lullaby 5:33
    DISC THREE  
    1. Stardust 10:42
    2. Time After Time 7:45
    3. Love Thy Neighbor 9:21
    4. Then I’ll Be Tired Of You 9:27
    DISC FOUR  
    1. Freight Trane 7:22
    2. I Never Knew 7:05
    3. Lyresto 5:45
    4. Why Was I Born? 3:14
    5. Big Paul 14:05

Lush Life

“I was the engineer on the recording sessions and I also made the masters for the original LP issues of these albums. Since the advent of the CD, other people have been making the masters. Mastering is the final step in the process of creating the sound of the finished product. Now, thanks to the folks at the Concord Music Group who have given me the opportunity to remaster these albums, I can present my versions of the music on CD using modern technology. I remember the sessions well, I remember how the musicians wanted to sound, and I remember their reactions to the playbacks. Today, I feel strongly that I am their messenger.”

—Rudy Van Gelder

Here is one of the musical giants of the 20th century, poised on the precipice of greatness. Between the spring of 1957 and the winter of 1958, during which time Lush Life was recorded, the music of tenor saxophonist John Coltrane (1926-1967) was developing in giant steps, thanks in great part to a six-month 1957 stint with Thelonious Monk that had much to do with sharpening Coltrane’s harmonic conception and torrential attack.

Lush Life contains Coltrane’s first recordings as sole leader, his initial date fronting a pianoless trio, and one of his first extended readings of a ballad, Billy Strayhorn’s resplendent title track. We also hear him at the helm of a quartet and quintet, featuring pianist Red Garland, with trumpeter Donald Byrd added to “Lush Life.”

Coltrane and jazz would never be the same.

Soultrane

Soultrane is one of the essential albums in John Coltrane’s career. Recorded during the first year of his Prestige contract, between his critical service in Thelonious Monk’s quartet and his return to the band of Miles Davis, it finds the tenor saxophonist displaying a new level of both technical and conceptual refinement, dispensing torrents of notes that annotator Ira Gitler famously dubbed “sheets of sound.” The Red Garland Trio, a key component on many Coltrane recordings of the period, is at its eloquent best; and the program, with two compositions from the early days of modern jazz, two lesser-known standards, and a recently penned requiem for the late Ernie Henry, is ideal for verifying that Coltrane’s swiftly evolving approach was both innovative and comprehensive. Coltrane’s status as the primary influence on both saxophonists and musicians generally became undeniable after the release of this immortal performance.

Stardust

It's hard to believe after hearing the eloquence of "Then I'll Be Tired of You" or the title track, but John Coltrane's ballad mastery was the last of his skills to receive wide appreciation. The notion that Coltrane the balladeer was as commanding as Coltrane the uptempo wizard or Coltrane the blues player finally gained acceptance in the early 60s, when this album first appeared and quickly became an important exhibit in the reconsideration. The extended performances boast additional delights, including Paul Chambers's arco bass on "Stardust," Red Garland's well-paced choruses on "Time After Time," some of Wilbur Harden's best trumpet work on "Love Thy Neighbor," and Freddie Hubbard's earliest on "Then I'll Be Tired of You"; they were recorded at Coltrane's final two sessions for Prestige.

Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane

“I was the engineer on the recording sessions and I also made the masters for the original LP issues of these albums. Since the advent of the CD, other people have been making the masters. Mastering is the final step in the process of creating the sound of the finished product. Now, thanks to the folks at the Concord Music Group who have given me the opportunity to remaster these albums, I can present my versions of the music on CD using modern technology. I remember the sessions well, I remember how the musicians wanted to sound, and I remember their reactions to the playbacks. Today, I feel strongly that I am their messenger.”

—Rudy Van Gelder

From 1955, the year he came to prominence with Miles Davis’s first “great quintet,” the legendary tenor saxophonist John Coltrane (1926-1967) recorded with only one guitar player: the superbly versatile Kenny Burrell (b. 1931). In March 1958—the pair joined by the crack rhythm section of pianist (and Burrell’s fellow Detroiter) Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb (the latter two Coltrane’s colleagues at the time with the Miles Davis sextet)—got together to cut the five tunes herein for New Jazz. The result is part hard-bop, part blowing session, and part tuneful bebop, with one very special intimate dialogue between tenor and guitar on “Why Was I Born?” the only duo recording Coltrane ever essayed with a chordal instrument. Throughout Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane, the parts add up to a thoroughly absorbing whole.

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