In this very, very good LP, John Coltrane gives a picture of himself which is true in several dimensions. The set, first of all, is one I consider representative of what Coltrane is doing today with the Miles Davis group. That I consider him one of the few most exciting tenor-playing individuals in jazz today has no bearing on the rating, but I do use the word “individuals” in its fullest connotation.
Coltrane has been, and is here, playing in a highly personal manner. What he is doing has been described variously as sheets of sound or ribbons of sound or, by some less interested ears, as a haphazard running of as many notes as possible. I find a logic in his playing. And although he does sometimes fail to get his flow underway, the times that it does happen are among the most tingling in modern jazz. What I do admire in him is that he is always going for something beyond him, and that he never falls back on an easy or accepted way of doing what he wants to do.
On this set, Coltrane also has some passages of extremely lyrical playing, particularly on the ballads Talk and Care. He blows straight-forward and with warmth.
Backing is first-rate, and Garland’s solo spots are fine. By all means hear this one. —Dom Cerulli
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