For several reasons, Dakar occupies a sweet spot in John Coltrane s discography of the 1950s. The album places him in the context of two other saxophonists, baritone players, Cecil Payne and Pepper Adams, and a rhythm section comprised of Prestige all-stars Mal Waldron on piano, Doug Watkins on bass, and Art Taylor on drums. The setting yields tough-and-lovely ensemble work on almost every tune. In addition, the selection of material could serve as a template for how to wed adventurous… MORE
MORE RELEASES FROM JOHN COLTRANE
Concord Music Group will reissue a remastered and expanded edition of John Coltrane's Afro Blue Impressions album on August 20, 2013… More
Lush Life“I was the engineer on the recording sessions and I also made the masters for the original LP issues of these… More
A 5-CD Box Set of John Coltrane's Prestige Recordings as a Sideman to a host of jazz luminaries. More
In Coltrane's first session as band leader, he chose his musicians, contribute several compositions, and also wrote some of the arrangements. More
The Concord Music Group presents its 11th Edition of classic Prestige Records RVG Remasters. More
In addition to their positions of importance in the Miles Davis quintet of the mid-fifties, John Coltrane and Red Garland a series of studio dates… More
In the spring of 1957, John Coltrane had gone through two years of artistic growth so concentrated it was astonishing even in the jazz world… More
ABOUT JOHN COLTRANE
John Coltrane (1926-67) was the most relentlessly exploratory musician in jazz history. He was always searching, seeking to take his music further in what he quite consciously viewed as a spiritual quest. In terms of public recognition, this quest began relatively late. The tenor saxophonist, a native of North Carolina who later moved to Philadelphia, was 28 when he joined the Miles Davis quintet in 1955, after years of paying dues in the big band and combo of Dizzy Gillespie (where he played alto before switching to tenor) and as a supporting player behind saxophonists Johnny Hodges, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, and Earl Bostic.
Coltrane’s anguished tone and multi-noted, rhythmically complex solos with Davis quickly elevated him to the front ranks of jazz, although some commentators were disturbed by the complexities of his style and his insistence on pushing beyond his rapidly diminishing limitations. These traits, as well as these complaints, marked the remainder of Coltrane’s career. His position was quickly solidified, however, when Coltrane began recording extensively under his own name (often with pianist Red Garland’s trio) and as a sideman in 1957, spent a brief yet invaluable stay with Thelonious Monk that same year, then returned to Davis as a featured soloist for the rest of the decade. The incredible technical and harmonic content of his playing at the time led to a style, described as “sheets of sound,” that, by 1960, seemed the last word in chord-based improvising.
During his second stay with Davis, however, Coltrane became immersed in modes and scales, which he began to use in place of standard chord progressions in his music around the time he organized his first quartet in 1960. This group, which featured pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, and, ultimately, bassist Jimmy Garrison, became one of the seminal jazz bands, playing with incredible energy and stamina and providing a forum for Coltrane’s growth as a composer. It was also the setting for Coltrane’s adoption of the soprano saxophone, a move that single-handedly repopularized an instrument that (Steve Lacy excepted) had been unheard in modern jazz. The Coltrane quartet, often expanded to include a bassist and (for much of 1961) Eric Dolphy, proved extremely popular without abandoning its exploratory edge, and by 1965 was the premier group in jazz.
Coltrane still heard something more, however, and by the summer of ‘65 he had opened up his rhythmic and textural vocabulary further by incorporating the energy (and often the presence) of younger avant-garde players into his music. Pharoah Sanders joined the band as a permanent second saxophonist; Rashied Ali and Coltrane’s wife Alice replaced Jones and Tyner, respectively; and his music entered yet another phase that generated debate regarding whether Coltrane had not once again gone too far. This final phase, while indeed filled with cataclysmic sounds, also contained music of a new and promising lyricism. When liver disease took Coltrane’s life in July 1967, his legion of disciples was left to ponder what further vistas he had glimpsed in his quest for musical purity.