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Jazz Icons-John Coltrane

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Giant steps

by Emma Choi on 9/30/2008

This is the Coltrane live-performance DVD we’ve all been waiting for. Not only does it include the late saxophonist’s famous 1961 German television appearance (in which the musicians play amidst a cool modernist steel-girder studio set), it also boasts ultra-rare footage of the Coltrane Quartet’s dynamic set at a 1965 outdoor jazz festival in Belgium, a time when Trane was really pushing the avant-garde envelope. As if that weren’t enough, this disc also presents a recently unearthed German TV broadcast from 1960, showing Coltrane playing with Miles Davis’ rhythm section, plus guest artists Oscar Peterson and Stan Getz. The DVD is sequenced chronologically, and thus opens with Coltrane in concert with the Davis group (sans Miles). It’s interesting to watch Coltrane holding himself back working within a more formal and less adventurous musical setting than the one he would soon adopt. He showcases his angular lyricism on several classic tunes included in the famous trumpeter’s repertoire, playing beautifully with Davis’ sidemen (Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb), but one can sense his impatience to break free of the group he’d been with for five years and hook up with more forward-thinking musicians. The 1961 TV performance finds him in the company of just such a group—pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, bassist Reggie Workman and alto saxophonist/flutist Eric Dolphy—as they burn through inspired renditions of “My Favorite Things,” “Every Time We Say Goodbye” and “Impressions.” As the camera darts around the expressionistic set, Coltrane and his hand picked musicians lay down the new musical language that was already shaking jazz’s foundations. After Dolphy left and Workman was replaced by Jimmy Garrison, Coltrane’s sound ascended to an even higher level of experimentation. Tyner’s natural lyricism helped balance Coltrane’s abstract excursions, while Garrison somehow kept the time and Jones laid down his own fierce polyrhythmic statements. However, this particular group was nearing the end of its run by the time of the Belgium gig—Tyner and Jones left some five months later. And Coltrane would give us just two more years of incredible music before prematurely leaving the planet, which makes these remarkable, rarely seen performances even more important historically and culturally.

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Product Overview

Jazz Icons: John Coltrane provides an epic 95-minute overview of a true giant of 20th-century music. Three separate shows reveal Coltrane's ascending creative arc from hard bop innovator as a member of the Miles Davis Quartet in 1960 to consummate bandleader in 1961 to unrivalled jazz visionary in 1965. This DVD not only features Trane's classic quartet with Elvin Jones (drums), Jimmy Garrison (bass) and McCoy Tyner (piano), but also spotlights him onstage with other jazz legends including Stan Getz, Eric Dolphy and Oscar Peterson. Includes mind-blowing versions of his signature tunes "My Favorite Things" and "Impressions".

Germany 3/28/60
Autumn Leaves
What’s New
Moonlight In Vermont
On Green Dolphin Street
The Theme

John Coltrane (Tenor Sax)
Wynton Kelly (Piano)
Paul Chambers (Bass)
Jimmy Cobb (Drums)

Additional Personnel
on Hackensack
Oscar Peterson - Piano
on Moonlight In Vermont and Hackensack
Stan Getz – Tenor Sax

Germany 12/4/61
My Favorite Things
Ev'rytime We Say Goodbye

John Coltrane (Tenor and Soprano Sax)
Eric Dolphy (Alto Sax and Flute)
McCoy Tyner (Piano)
Reggie Workman (Bass)
Elvin Jones (Drums)

Belgium 8/1/65
My Favorite Things

John Coltrane (Tenor Sax and Soprano Sax)
McCoy Tyner (Piano)
Jimmy Garrison (Bass)
Elvin Jones (Drums)


Studio Naxos Of America, Inc
SKU 205075110
UPC 747313900756
UPC 14 00747313900756
Format DVD
Release Date 9/4/2007
Name Jazz Icons
Link Search Link
DVD, No Longer Produced
Product Attributes
Actor Jazz Icons
Label Naxos Records
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
$15.07 + $2.98 shipping
$19.99 You save $4.92 (24%)
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Giant steps by Emma Choi on Sep 30, 2008