Friday, February 18, 2011

John Coltrane - At Temple University 1966 (FreeFactory, 2010)

This is probably the best recorded late Coltrane performance ever issued. Not as subversively noisy and harshly unconventional even for Trane standards of that time, as his Olatunji Concert (officially published in 2000 by Impulse!), this 1966 live exhibition of his last quartet gifts fans all over the world with one of the most beautiful renditions of  both Naima and Leo. Naima is here more organic than on Live at the Village Vanguard Again!, where piano and horns were less focused into a continuum; Leo (the studio version, a sax/drums duet, was published as a bonus on Interstellar Space cd reissue) presents Jimmy Garrison bass and Alice Coltrane piano on the very background, due to powerful argumenting of two saxophones and drums. Arcoed bass gives this rendition an ineffable sense of melancholy, but it's up to Crescent, a beautiful 1964 composition from the same titled record, to testify the state of Trane's mastery and even difficulties in developing further his style and language.

As Ravi Shankar states, in his liner notes, John Coltrane was looking (as ever) for something different. Indian sitar master points out at inner peace, at the pain of living he felt in crossing many jazz music of that time (and after all, Trane himself was looking for yoga meditation and Shri Ramakrishna teachings and relating his music to his inner struggling); but as far as this music from Temple University, what we hear it's a continuous, firm fire coming out of an injure that has already found a forged shape of expression. A record to listen to carefully, relating to the way Trane tries to cope with his musical architecture, always expanding it, whereas Pharoah Sanders gives shape to multiphonics and screaming lines that are as assertive as full of awareness. Alice Coltrane plays piano as harp, interlacing beautiful textures with Rashied Ali's wide open palette of percussions.

Personnel: John Coltrane (tenor sax), Pharoah Sanders (tenor sax), Alice Coltrane (piano), Jimmy Garrison (bass), Rashied Ali (drums)

Tracks: Naima (16.47) - Crescent (26:15) - Leo (20.43)

1 comment:

  1. It was actually Sonny Johnson on bass. Omar Ali on congas and Algee DeWitt on bata drum. There were other percussionists not mentioned.