Saturday, July 7, 2018

CD Review: John Coltrane Lost Album, Both Directions at Once

John Coltrane Lost Album -  Both Directions at Once

"It's like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid." those were the words of saxophonist legend Sonny Rollins when asked about a lost and recently found John Coltrane recording.

When Saxophonist John Coltrane died in 1967 at the age of 40, the world lost a brilliant mind and a true music genius. Sonny Rollins, still alive, was one of Coltrane closest friends and also a genius and Jazz Legend on his own right.

The music of Coltrane, more than 50 years after his death, is still as relevant today as it was back then. So finding a lost recording by Trane is certainly big news in the jazz and music world.

The music on this lost album was recorded in 1963, by a group of musicians that were regarded (and still is today) as one of the best bands in the history of jazz. Elvin Jones on drums, McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and of course John Coltrane on tenor and soprano saxophone, established a jazz sound and style that is still a point of reference to jazz musicians today.

The master tapes were found in the basement of Coltrane's first wife Naima. The album was recorded right before the Coltrane/Johnny Hartman album and at a time when the group were playing some dates at Birdland, and the approach to the music has some similarities to the way the group played live.

Back in 1963 Coltrane was in a transition period, still playing in the blues, bebop style of his 1950's recordings, as in "Slow Blues", but already pushing forward with fearless experimentations and with the new ideas providing a glimpse of his avant garde period of later years as can be heard in "One up and Down", "11383" and "11386".

The album also includes new improvisational explorations of already known Trane classics like "Impressions", the more subtle and conventional approach in the tune Vila, a Coltrane interpretation of an Aria by Franz Christian Lehar, and the modal take on the song "Nature Boy".

The tittle for the album Both Directions at Once, according to his son Ravi Coltrane, came from a conversation between John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter, about both of them playing a musical idea starting from the middle and moving at both directions at once. 

Both Directions at Once is a recording of great musicians at the top of their game. No doubt, Jazz aficionados will be delighted with the opportunity of listening to new and extraordinary Coltrane music once again. The fact that Coltrane, Tyner, Jones and Garrison though this amazing recording was not good enough for them to release it only speak to the greatness of this superb group.