Search & Destroy: John Coltrane

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Only heard a handful of his albums. Thought Blue Trane was boring. My Favourite Things (title track aside) not much better. Liked Giant Steps a lot. But even that was hardly explosive. Where's all the far out free jazz stuff I keep reading about? I'd like to know cos I generally love the bands - Stooges, Beefheart, etc. - who were supposedly influenced by him.

Scott, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

First of all destroy: Blue Train...boring as fuck.

Now on to the good part.


Africa/Brass (shite Greensleeves is on it, but Africa is utterly mindblowing).

Coltrane (the one with blue sleeve, mid-period, good not too wild)

Lush Life (early period, but very lush indeed)

Sunship (getting harder, this one is from late 65 I think)

A Love Supreme (jazz bores hate it because it's popular with non-jazz bores. Fuck 'em...and it's about God and stuff which people tend to find embarrassing)

I you want the *wild* stuff:

Meditations is the one. It still has some lyrical beauty in constrast to Ascension which I don't know to well, but is supposed to be good and his hardest moment with Live in Seattle.

I also love Interstellar Space, very spare but beautiful.

Omar, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

jazz bores = me? Hmmmmm.

A Love Supreme is quite boring and — if presented (as it routinely is) as JC's ultraclassic — it just inoculates foax against eg Live in Seattle or Interstellar Space or Ascension. Because they think "It's good [ie ALS] but I don't like it: I'll go no further."

However there's a live take of ALS, which — haven't heard it for years — I recall thinking greatly better

mark s, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Sorry Mark I was going to apologize to you in advance ;) Don't think too much of it. It's just that sometimes you get the feeling Ascension, Live in Seattle, etc. are held up as the "true Coltrane" out of some macho-me-hard stance. Too much attitude. (Again Mark you don't strike me as that sort of fellow ;)

Omar, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I think it's wrong (or rather not the best poss. way of maximising JC listening pleasure) to limit yr search to the "far out free jazz stuff" - it's a relatively small part of Coltrane's career, a project sort of uncompleted due to his early death, and there are other people who the do the free stuff just as well or better (Albert Ayler and Peter Brotzmann spring to mind.) Some of JC's 'best' playing is his more lyrical stuff (I even have a soft spot for the alb he did w/ Johnny Hartman) and the early sixties recs - esp. 'Crescent' and the afore-mentioned 'Coltrane' - strike a nice balance between post-bop modality and total skronkdom. And of course you also get McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones on those albs, none of whom are exactly lightweights. I've already mentioned 'Impressions' on another thread, but that's got the great Eric Dolphy on it as well.

Andrew L, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

What about the Live at the Village Vanguard stuff. Is that all it's cracked up to be?

Scott, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Yeah, the first one is allright, not my exactly my favourite though. The second one is very good. Of course Alice Coltrane is in the band at that time (as are Ali and Sanders I think) But as mentioned elsewhere: what a shame about the bass-solo!

Omar, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I have to admit, I find it appalling that anyone could find Blue Train boring. The blowing is pretty insane, even staying within the constraints of the harmony. I'm not a huge Coltrane obsessive like some other horn players I know, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find a really bad record in his canon, at least, post-"Coltrane Jazz" on Atlantic. ALS is brilliant, I have a real emotional connection with that record, but the rest are great. To be honest, I've been blown away by just about all the Coltrane I've ever heard. I don't think it's that I lack the ability to be critical, I think that once he found his voice, he never really played what I would call 'badly' for the rest of his career.

Search: The Impulse Classic Quartet Box Set, The Village Vanguard Box, the Johnny Hartman record, Giant Steps.

Dave M., Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

For me, Giant Steps is easily my favourite. Coltrane's Sound is similar, I guess, but never connected with me in the same way. I have to second Dave M's recommendation of the box set of the original quartet on Impulse: all of the material is great, especially if you're not into the far-out free stuff, the documentation is great, and the packaging is a beauty to behold. I've tried getting into the out material, but I just can't get my head around it.

Sean Carruthers, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Search: Okay, well, maybe start with Afro Blue Impressions. A live album from '63 that catches Coltrane in a transitional period. Has the best version of "My Favorite Things" he ever did. If you only know the studio album by that name, you're in for a real treat.

Also, stuff he did with Dolphy is amazing. Try and get live material from '63 w/ Dolphy, like the first Village Vanguard sessions (I may have the year wrong.) The Quintet Live in Paris is great, and has Dolphy playing bass clarinet on "Blue Train," bumping it up a few notches.

If you like lyrical Coltrane try "Transition." It has my favorite composition of his, "Welcome." Which I want played at my wedding. Actually, the rest of that album is so-so, but that track is so amazing.

My favorite "out there" stuff is probably Live In Seattle, could be what you're looking for if you want the more intense sound.

Destroy: Well, how about the opening chant of "Om."

Mark, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Whew, I can't imagine finding Blue Train boring either...sure, it's straight-ahead, but it's so good and has such a fresh vibe. Also, I'm always kind of surprised that "non-jazz" people like Giant Steps as much as they often do, since it's totally straight-ahead and way more complex than the earlier and later stuff in terms of his then-new changes.

As for the classic quartet and later stuff... --I highly recommend 'Live at Birdland' as a first pick, it was mine and from the beginning of Afro-Blue it pretty much floored me in terms of intensity. Besides, Alabama is the most beautiful song he ever did.

--I'm also pretty surprised at any backlash against A Love Supreme...for me, it's just an incredibly deep, emotional album that pretty much defines everything good about jazz. Plus, the Crescent album recorded the same year is my other favorite classic quartet album, it's so laid back and solid.

--As for the later stuff, all the stuff with Alice and Pharoah Sanders is pretty intense and free and busy...I 'got' Meditations after awhile, but can only listen to that stuff every now and then. Interstellar Space is a pretty singular record too (duet album with Rashid Ali on drums)...I had NO idea what was going on there for a long time. It's still pretty impressive in that sense, but it's easier to hear the colors and patterns they are going for.

Jordan, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

"Can't imagine" is somehow a better term than "appaling" ;) Don't think too much of it, 'Blue Train' is just straight-ahead dad jazz to my ears, pleasurable to be sure (as is Miles' Round about Midnight) but not as exciting as his later stuff. My favorite Coltrane track is 'Africa' btw.

Is 'Live in Seattle' out on cd? I just can't find a copy.

Omar, Thursday, 17 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

i have _giant steps_ and _als_ but i don't play them. _interstellar space_ is the only jazz album i play with any frequency.

sundar subramanian, Saturday, 19 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

One thing I will never understand is how one can like free jazz but not more bebop-oriented stuff (or "dad-jazz", ha ha). How the fuck do you know what's going on?

Dave M., Sunday, 20 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

oh come on. free jazz is easy to get into. you don't need to know, understand, and appreciate the forms and conventions of more straightforward jazz. all you need to do is listen and respond to sound and texture. it's learning and playing by all those rules that's hard to get your mind around. the freer the better. just like john cage is much more accessible than j.s. bach.

i think i probably find _is_ especially accessible because of its similarities to indian classical music. i put it on at work once and an indian immigrant co-worker loved it right away.

sundar subramanian, Thursday, 24 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Cage and Free jazz may require less preparation to appreciate, but I think you're being disingenuous by failing to consider how deeply entrenched norms of Western music are (in the West, of course). If we just picked people off the street my guess is they would find Bach easier to appreciate, because they would find his music harmonious, with pretty melodies, etc.

Josh, Thursday, 24 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

the irony was intentional.;)

(ps josh: i'll write you back soon. i've just been really busy and not had enough time when i get to terminals.)

sundar subramanian, Saturday, 26 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link


Josh, Sunday, 27 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

one month passes...
John Coltrane (the more "explosive" free-jazz) :

'Meditations' - Don't be fooled by the title. I'm telling you. This album here...will grab you by the balls and it will start to feel good.

'Ascension' - ...will grab you by the balls (that's for sure). It won't exactly feel good, however (unlike the nearly transcendent 'Meditations').

More or less, you can try most any of the later year Coltrane for the nifty free-jazz experience (aka: post-Love Supreme - the ones you have are pre-Love Supreme).

But, I know what you mean by "What's the fuss about this free-jazz I've read so much about?" and...with that :

I'd also try some Cecil Taylor. Now, HE is what I truly call avant-garde (wild/wacky/free-jazz). Cecil might just flat-out "blow your mind" (if that's what you're looking for in jazz form). Try Cecil circa 1966 ('Unit Structure') throughout/on up to around 1979 ('3 Phasis') and most inbetween (some of which is solo piano/some of which with band - the two mentioned as bookends are with band - so, be careful with that, taste according...personally, I kind of enjoy schizophrenic solo piano playing, does have a more limited range than with band accompaniment).

michael g. breece, Sunday, 1 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Out of the ones you listed, my own personal ranking would be: My Favorite Things, Giant Steps, and then Blue Trane.

Search: A Love Supreme (definitely his best, I would say), Crescent, and Meditations, just to name three off the top of my head. Meditations might take a bit to get accustomed to that one. The one with Johnny Hartman doing vocals is a nice, laid-back one.

Destroy: The later Village Vanguard album (with his final band) was a bit too out there for me.

Joe, Sunday, 1 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

eleven months pass...
Also, I'm always kind of surprised that "non-jazz" people like Giant Steps as much as they often do, since it's totally straight-ahead and way more complex than the earlier and later stuff in terms of his then-new changes.

We like it because it's great. I wonder if this doesn't suggest that there is something else other than jazz's complexity which turns some of us off to most of it? "Giant Steps" (the title track) tends to make me laugh. I like it's exuberance. He sounds like he's really enjoying himself playing it, but there's room for us to share the amusement. I'm still not sure I understand what "playing the changes" really means.

DeRayMi, Monday, 3 June 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Have heard two coltrane albums: 'Meditations' and bought the 'Last Concert'. I'm surprised the latter has not been mentioned around here. Its an excellent performance. Its very intense music, very difficult to concentrate all the way through but its a good listen. The audience were very lucky to experience this.

Julio Desouza, Tuesday, 4 June 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I'm still not sure I understand what "playing the changes" really means.

When you solo in straight-ahead jazz, the notes you play will generally reflect the harmonic structure of the song -- i.e. the chords. In tonal songs that are harmonically simple, the palette of "key notes" you have to choose from remains largely the same from chord to chord, so that at any given moment there are particular pitches that you can use as touchstones or "common tones", feeling pretty sure they won't dissonate. (For instance, if you're playing a very basic B-flat blues, the notes B-flat, C, E-flat, F, and G are all "safe" in that they're present in the scales that underlie all of the chords in a B-flat blues -- B-flat 7, E-flat 7, and F7. However, a solo made up of only those notes will likely be terrible, not least because it excludes "chord-defining" pitches and can't convey any sense of harmonic motion.)

The thing that makes the title track of Giant Steps so unusual is that the chords are changing very rapidly, and each chord is fairly remote from the previous one, so those touchstones are quite few. On top of that, the song is so fast that any given common tone is fleeting -- if you play a particular pitch for longer than a measure or so, the odds are that it will clash with a chord that's changing underneath you. So basically, the experience of improvising over "Giant Steps" can feel a little like trying to play catch in one of those gyroscopic whirlythings in which they train astronauts -- your frame of reference is constantly changing, and you have to think ahead at high speed in order to make sure that each of your choices will connect with where you're going to be in two seconds.

Given all that, the fact that Coltrane was able to play melodic and memorable solos in such a context is really remarkable, let alone the fact that he played them with total mastery. He didn't just plow his way through the chords, he weaved them into the fabric of his improvisation in such a way that, while they were integral to his solo and completely implicit in it (i.e. you can reconstruct the chord changes from his unaccompanied solo), he wasn't at all governed by them: he wasn't just running down the changes, he was using them as one would use a blues or "I Got Rhythm" changes or any other ground. In other words, he made the seemingly unnatural sound natural, even effortless, and in doing so he normalized a new part of human musical experience. It would've been incredibly easy to make "Giant Steps" sound like a gimmick, but Coltrane's sheer mastery made it seem instead like an open door, full of possibilities for new harmonic approaches that both he and others -- and anyone willing to listen and work hard -- could explore.

Phil, Tuesday, 4 June 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Phil, that was a useful explanation. Eventually, I will pick up at least a smattering of music theory, and these things will probably make a little more sense to me, but for now your explanation helps.

DeRayMi, Tuesday, 4 June 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

phil, that post was very enjoyable to read! :-)

Ron, Tuesday, 4 June 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

DeRayMi, Ron -- thank you!

Phil, Tuesday, 4 June 2002 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

seven months pass...
Has anyone bought the Deluxe Edition of A Love Supreme? What is your opinion on the second disc?

I really like the concert performance, especially Jimmy Garrion's solos in the third movement. Coltrane also plays a lot more noisily compared to the studio version, which I tend to enjoy. The sextet takes were a dissapointment. Shepp seems to be interrupting most of the time.

Aaron Grossman (aajjgg), Tuesday, 28 January 2003 04:19 (twenty years ago) link

Since then, I listen to much more jazz and like A Love Supreme quite a bit. The Olatunji Concert is really good too.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Tuesday, 28 January 2003 04:38 (twenty years ago) link

yesterday, just before i went to bed i heard 'My favourite things' off the last concert. I'm warming to Jimmy garrison's bass solo at the beginning. Its quite odd that he got that space to improvise (maybve it should have been an extra track rather than as part of my favourite things) but that's a quibble.

and then coltrane is playing his scales like crazy, garrison just fades. its a slow fade, I'm trying to listen to him but even the tape hiss is making more noise at the end and when coltrane does his bit is the turn of pharoah sanders/rashied ali/alice coltrane trio. I don't whether Alice knows what to do keep hearing those piano notes but it gets harder to pay any attention to her and she sounds as if she was taken aback, only ali can keep up with sanders, they are just so 'in tune' with each other. Pharoah sanders' solo is just a thing of beauty...he starts off playing these 'sorrowful' notes but gradually he becomes keeps squealing and blowing so hard that he actually transforms the alto to some sort synth but there's no 'common logic' (its some other sort of logic) to what he's playing (unlike a lot of 'warp' type stuff)...anyway, sanders/Ali make this track.

Coltrane comes back and he and sanders throw little sax lines at the each to round off with Ali to round it all off.

If a live album's purpose is to make you wish you were there then this fulfills that purpose.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 28 January 2003 09:40 (twenty years ago) link

actually the garrison fave things intro was a staple of coltrane gigs. compare with the take on "live at the village vanguard again" which is better recorded but no less transcendent. oh and small point, sanders is on tenor throughout, not alto (he briefly plays alto on "tauhid" and again on coleman's "chappaqua suite"). ps' solo on the vanguard version is phenomenal, though - you can hear him swaying from speaker to speaker, clearly possessed, darting around the stage. coltrane re-enters near the end on bass clarinet.

but historically - and vital for understanding "a love supreme" properly - you need to hear his '57 recordings with monk.

Marcello Carlin, Tuesday, 28 January 2003 09:51 (twenty years ago) link

OK. on tenor then. and thanks for clearing up on garrison too.

I'm still mad at the uncut reviewer who wrote a review of the last concert. it was basically: 'Free jazz is not my bag so don't bother'.

excuse my unpolished previous post on this.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 28 January 2003 10:02 (twenty years ago) link

that last concert cd still blows me away (in a good way). it's prob my fave coltrane, actually - certainly the one i listen to most.

what do other people think of 'infinity'? i've been thinking about starting a thread about it, but i guess this'll do. for me the strings = classic, but i can see how the cd piss a lot of people off.

toby (tsg20), Tuesday, 28 January 2003 10:11 (twenty years ago) link

toby- its my only coltrane (though i did borrow a copy of 'A loev supreme' from the record library but i didn't warm to it but in light of what marcello has just said i must reconsider).

I was looking for the live in japan 4CD box (it is a 4CD box yes?) but I couldn't find it at tower. must stop by HMV sometime.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 28 January 2003 10:28 (twenty years ago) link

HAS anyone heard the deluxe ALS?

Aaron Grossman (aajjgg), Tuesday, 28 January 2003 21:21 (twenty years ago) link

no have you?

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 28 January 2003 21:30 (twenty years ago) link

YES Aaron! The live versh on the 2nd disc is the same one that Mark S refers to way upthread - it has long been available as a cheap semi-bootleg that also goes under the name 'A Love Supreme'. The recording quality on the 'Deluxe' ish is v. much better, and the studio versh of 'A Love Supreme' has also apparently been mastered properly for CD for the first time - it certainly sounds bigger, warmer etc., though prob. not quite as new/fresh as the properly mastered 'Kind of Blue' from a few years ago. The alt studio stuff adds Archie Shepp, who undfortunately sounds v. lost and tentative. Overall it's a nice package, tho', if you dig yr jazz classics being treated like museum pieces.

That Ahsley Khan bk abt ALS is worth getting just for the pic of Ayler playing at JC's funeral - never seen that shot B4.

H*V doesn't have the 'Live in Japan' box, Julio - it must be out of print. In general, the collapse of the revived Impulse label has kind of left late period Coltrane reissues in limbo - now wld be a gd time to snap 'em up (or wait until the next set of superduper deluxe whatsits)

Andrew L (Andrew L), Tuesday, 28 January 2003 21:37 (twenty years ago) link

''That Ahsley Khan bk abt ALS is worth getting just for the pic of Ayler playing at JC's funeral - never seen that shot B4.''

grebt review of the book there andrew!

thanks for that andrew. so Impulse went down then that's a shame. The coltrane rack at tower was looking a bit 'empty' (though they are closing now but still).

I'm gonna try and get what's there i think.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 28 January 2003 21:48 (twenty years ago) link

I've heard that there's an actual recording somewhere (never released, natch) of Coltrane's funeral.

hstencil, Tuesday, 28 January 2003 21:50 (twenty years ago) link

three years pass...
i got the olatunji concert cd a week ago. i really like it esp. the beginning of ogunde where coltrane plays the tune in a way which is so pure, so immediate, so from the heart that each time i listen to it i feel the spirituality taking hold of me. one of the most religious experiences when listening to music i ever had in my life.

i have a question concerning the mixing quality of the album though. the cd i have has both saxes on the right channel and the drums on the left. the stereo sound is totally unbalanced as the saxes are so much louder than the rest. i always put the balance knob to the maximum level for the left channel. otherwise my right ear would get harmed when i put up the volume so that i can hear something from the left speaker. is that normal?

alex in mainhattan (alex63), Sunday, 11 June 2006 16:47 (seventeen years ago) link

huh. coltrane funeral is on the ayler box set, if anyone's feeling ghoulish. well, ayler's part of.

people used to put lots of effort into thinking and talking about actual records here, didn't they. well.

tom west (thomp), Sunday, 11 June 2006 17:06 (seventeen years ago) link

two months pass...
I'm a bit late to the party, but just bought the complete impulse recordings, and I don't actually foresee listening to anything else for the next few weeks. there's a solo on "your Lady" from the second disc, Coltrane is playing soprano and the bass and drums go into trance mode, bass holding one note, while drums bump and pound below. I guess I didn't realize people were playing stuff like that back then, or really even all that much now.

Dominique (dleone), Saturday, 9 September 2006 22:57 (seventeen years ago) link

This is my favorite of the late albums. Might not be the best, but somehow I find it the grooviest:

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Saturday, 9 September 2006 23:06 (seventeen years ago) link

ten months pass...

Coltrane bassist r.i.p.

Art Davis, 73; known for mastery of the bass, also was a psychologist

By Jocelyn Y. Stewart, LA Times Staff Writer
August 4, 2007

Art Davis, the renowned double bassist who played with John Coltrane and other jazz greats, was blacklisted in the 1970s for speaking up about racism in the music industry, and then later in life earned a doctorate in clinical psychology and balanced performance dates with appointments to see patients, has died. He was 73.

Davis, a player whom jazz critic Nat Hentoff once described as "an astonishing player" and "beyond category," died of a heart attack Sunday at his home in Long Beach, said his son Kimaili Davis.

"He was adventurous with his approach to playing music," said pianist Nate Morgan, who played with the elder Davis intermittently over the last 10 years. "It takes a certain amount of integrity to step outside the box and say, 'I like it here and I'm going to hang here for a while.' "

Known for his stunning and complete mastery of the instrument, Davis was able to genre-hop comfortably. He played classical music with the New York Philharmonic, was a member of the NBC, Westinghouse and CBS orchestras, and played for Broadway shows.

The most intense and enriching experience of Davis' career was his collaboration with John Coltrane. Described by Hentoff as Coltrane's favorite bassist, Davis performed on the saxophonist's albums including "Ascension," Volumes 1 and 2 of "The Africa/Brass Sessions" and "Ole Coltrane." The two musicians met one night in the late 1950s at Small's Paradise, a jazz club in Harlem, where Davis was playing with drummer Max Roach. Coltrane invited Davis to play with him the following morning at one of his legendary grueling practice sessions.

A few years later, when Coltrane was building his quartet, he invited Davis to join. By then he had become averse to touring and so declined, although he periodically played with the group.

Davis viewed his instrument as "the backbone of the band," one that should "inspire the group by proposing harmonic information with a certain sound quality and rhythmic impulses," Davis said in an excerpt from So What magazine posted on his website. "You let the bass do the talking. A bassist cannot be satisfied with playing straight." By following his own advice, Davis' career flourished. He played with a long and varied list of artists: Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Louis Armstrong, Judy Garland, John Denver, the trio Peter, Paul and Mary and Bob Dylan.

Pianist Ahmad Jamal once dubbed Davis the "forgotten genius" because the outspoken bassist had been blacklisted for many years. Davis' decision to take a stand against racism was born of his experiences in music.

Davis began studying piano at age 5 in Harrisburg, Pa., where he was born Dec. 5, 1933. By sixth grade Davis studied the tuba in school simply because it was the only instrument available, he said.

By 1951 he decided to make music his career but chose the double bass, believing it would allow more opportunities to make a living. At age 17 he studied with the principal double bassist at the Philadelphia Orchestra. But when he auditioned for his hometown's symphony, the audition committee was so unduly harsh and demanding that the conductor Edwin MacArthur questioned their objectivity.

"The answer was, 'Well, he's ['colored']' — and there was silence," Davis recalled in a 2002 article in Double Bassist magazine. "Finally MacArthur burst out, 'If you don't want him, then you don't want me.' So they quickly got together and accepted me." After high school, Davis studied classical music on scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School of Music. At night he played jazz in New York clubs.

"It all sounded good to me — and I felt I could do a number of different fields," he told Double Bassist. "I was of one the first to switch back and forth from jazz to classical."

But the switch was not always an easy one. Davis encountered situations where race was more important than performance. In the 1970s, his fortunes waned after he filed an unsuccessful discrimination lawsuit against the New York Philharmonic. Like other black musicians who challenged job hiring practices, he lost work and important industry connections.

"As a person, he had enormous integrity," Hentoff said in an interview this week. "He wouldn't bend to accommodate bias or the ignorance of some of the people in the music business."

With less work coming his way, Davis returned to school and in 1981 earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from New York University. Davis was for many years a practicing psychologist while also working as a musician.

"I went up against the big power people and lost 10 years of my life. I feel vindicated [through his court case], and I wouldn't be a Dr. Art Davis if it hadn't happened," he told Double Bassist.

As a result of his lawsuit and protest, Davis played a key role in the increased use of the so-called blind audition, in which musicians are heard but not seen by those evaluating them, Hentoff said.

The accomplished musician also pioneered a fingering technique for the bass and wrote "The Arthur Davis System for Double Bass."

Davis also wore the hat of university professor; for two years he taught at UC Irvine. Most recently Davis was a part-time music instructor at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. He could be regularly heard on Sundays at the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel. Among musicians, Davis was highly respected for his work and his role in the Coltrane legacy.

"And he always had a great attitude, no matter what kind of music we were playing or how difficult the circumstances were," said Jan Jordan, the pianist who played with Davis at the Ritz.

"He always reached out to people in the audience."

curmudgeon, Saturday, 4 August 2007 23:17 (sixteen years ago) link



BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Saturday, 4 August 2007 23:39 (sixteen years ago) link

RIP, a remarkable man.

Phil's explanation of "playing the changes" on this thread is so clear and to the point -- it sheds a lot of light in three short paragraphs.

Brad C., Monday, 6 August 2007 00:06 (sixteen years ago) link

As close to a God to me as anything I hold dear. Sincerely. God schmod.

RIP indeed...

Saxby D. Elder, Monday, 6 August 2007 00:16 (sixteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Looks like the AP and NY Times just found out about Art Davis.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Friday, 24 August 2007 06:03 (sixteen years ago) link

for the "far out free jazz" type stuff, just look for anything from 1964 to 1967 (the year he died)

my favorites are a love supreme, one down one up (recently released live recording with a long insane title track solo), interstellar space, stellar regions (this one was unreleased until the 90s or something, it's awesome), and live in japan (4 cd set with intense long ass songs).

bstep, Friday, 24 August 2007 18:37 (sixteen years ago) link

hate when ppl say blue train is 'boring'

deej, Friday, 24 August 2007 18:39 (sixteen years ago) link

yeah the solo on blue train is awesome

bstep, Friday, 24 August 2007 18:41 (sixteen years ago) link

& I assume the European tour material is going to be pretty similar.

It mostly is, but the first disc-and-a-half is with Eric Dolphy. I haven't checked, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could find just the Coltrane/Dolphy live European stuff as a standalone disc.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 15 January 2019 18:09 (four years ago) link

(sorry, to clarify: the first disc-and-a-half of the Live Trane: The European Tours box)

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 15 January 2019 18:09 (four years ago) link

Man, Interstellar Space is really peak music

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 17 January 2019 16:34 (four years ago) link

two months pass...

listening to that prestige '58 box .. it's often quite familiar stuff, but still so good.

calzino, Thursday, 11 April 2019 15:23 (four years ago) link

Kenny Burrell, Donald Byrd, Paul Chambers, Jimm Cobb, Tommy Flanagan, Red Garland, Louis Hayes, Freddie Hubbard - literally fucking top notch '58 combos!

calzino, Thursday, 11 April 2019 15:29 (four years ago) link

Coltrane w Kenny Burrell was one of my first jazz records and I love it so much

It's sort of interesting in jazz how since these guys all did so many sessions in short periods of time, it can be sort of arbitrary which one you wind up starting with and that one often becomes a favorite.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 11 April 2019 18:23 (four years ago) link

four months pass...

uh hi dere

Now comes word of another new album by the classic John Coltrane Quartet, with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums. Blue World will be released on Impulse!/UMe on Sept. 27, and like Both Directions it offers an unexpected view on a pivotal period in the band's evolution. It was recorded at Van Gelder Studios on June 24, 1964 — a few weeks after the quartet put a finishing touch on the album Crescent — as the soundtrack to a Canadian art film. Because the date had gone unnoted in session recording logs, this music has occupied a blind spot for Trane-ologists, archivists and historians.

sleeve, Friday, 16 August 2019 16:09 (four years ago) link


american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 16 August 2019 16:10 (four years ago) link


tylerw, Friday, 16 August 2019 16:15 (four years ago) link

anything in the vicinity of Crescent already has my full attention

the public eating of beans (Sparkle Motion), Friday, 16 August 2019 16:21 (four years ago) link


sleeve, Friday, 16 August 2019 16:22 (four years ago) link

The new song is really good, and the idea of the 1964 quartet re-recording "Naima," "Village Blues," "Like Sonny" and "Traneing In" is very interesting to me. I am fully on board for this.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Friday, 16 August 2019 16:27 (four years ago) link

oh yeah that's fabulous, thanks

sleeve, Friday, 16 August 2019 16:31 (four years ago) link

this is very good and exciting

the public eating of beans (Sparkle Motion), Friday, 16 August 2019 17:56 (four years ago) link

Really want to listen to this on cd, from a black & orange digipack, on a boombox for full effect.

change display name (Jordan), Friday, 16 August 2019 17:57 (four years ago) link

that new track is indeed wonderful. just what i needed on a sunday evening.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Sunday, 18 August 2019 20:51 (four years ago) link

Listening to the whole album now. It's two versions of "Naima," three versions of "Village Blues," one each of "Like Sonny" and "Traneing In," and the one brand-new track. About 37 minutes of music in all. No bad performances, and the sound — it's in mono — has real punch. I love it. Gonna be listening to this one a lot more than Both Directions At Once, for sure.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 19:34 (four years ago) link

oh you didn't like Both Directions? I really loved it. if this is better I'm really excited

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 19:52 (four years ago) link

I liked it (bought the 2CD version), but I didn't love it. This one hits my personal sweet spot better, both because of the mono sound and because all the tunes are basically blues riffs.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 19:57 (four years ago) link


Mr. Snrub, Thursday, 22 August 2019 00:27 (four years ago) link

I'm confused, isn't "Blue World" just a slower take of Out of this World?

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 22 August 2019 03:27 (four years ago) link

eight months pass...

budo jeru, Thursday, 21 May 2020 17:28 (three years ago) link

Barry Harris!

Spocks on the Run (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 21 May 2020 17:32 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

"bakai" (1957)

this is some badass shit. from his first session as a leader. because of whatever reasons, he doesn't even take the first solo! also sahib shihab on baritone!

the beginning of the end of discourse. (Austin), Monday, 15 November 2021 03:59 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

John Coltrane With Eric Dolphy - Evenings At The Village Gate


this newish dug up from the Impulse archives release is really good, it's a rough single mic recording but the music really cuts through and features some amazing playing from Dolphy.

vodkaitamin effrtvescent (calzino), Monday, 14 August 2023 08:36 (three months ago) link

I picked up one of the European tour box sets from FOPP a few years ago. Presumably same line up though not sure about bassist.
Cost I think £15 back then and there was a 2nd volume from the next year, or was it previous. It's 61 and 62 anyway.
Haven't looked at it in a while but I think it was pretty great.
The box set of Village Vanguard sets was quite good too

Stevo, Monday, 14 August 2023 11:05 (three months ago) link

the star lineup on this one also includes McCoy Tyner/Elvin Jones/Jimmy Garrison/Art Davis.

vodkaitamin effrtvescent (calzino), Monday, 14 August 2023 11:14 (three months ago) link

I think he only had 2 steady lineups under his own name so it would either be Tyner/Jones plus Workman or Garrison and possibly Davis and depending on time some of the time either Dolphy or Sanders and then Sanders/Alice/Ali/Garrison plus possible augmentation.

Stevo, Monday, 14 August 2023 11:53 (three months ago) link

This is the first time I've ever seen anyone describe A Love Supreme as boring.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Monday, 14 August 2023 13:12 (three months ago) link


mark s, Monday, 14 August 2023 13:37 (three months ago) link

Not the first time I've seen it described as boring tbh.

Monthly Python (Tom D.), Monday, 14 August 2023 13:44 (three months ago) link

Dolphy's clarineting on my favorite things is some wonderful playing, then comes Trane ... it's great stuff

vodkaitamin effrtvescent (calzino), Monday, 14 August 2023 14:07 (three months ago) link

on this new live one I mean

vodkaitamin effrtvescent (calzino), Monday, 14 August 2023 14:08 (three months ago) link

It's a great Elvin record, what a gift

Random Restaurateur (Jordan), Monday, 14 August 2023 16:53 (three months ago) link

this dolphy recording is really excellent for a single mic recording. I saw notes that it was drum-heavy and maybe, slightly, but nothing inexcusable. that said with the advent of the technology peter jackson is using for demixing for the Beatles, I'd be really into seeing that same technology used in older jazz recordings like this.

I? not I! He! He! HIM! (akm), Monday, 14 August 2023 17:40 (three months ago) link

I wrongly posted it was from the Impulse archives, I've since read it was accidentally discovered in NY public library.

vodkaitamin effrtvescent (calzino), Monday, 14 August 2023 17:57 (three months ago) link

It is a killer recording.

SQUIRREL MEAT!! (Capitaine Jay Vee), Monday, 14 August 2023 18:55 (three months ago) link

Looked at the track listing and was kinda bowled over that they perform "Africa" (!)

Hongro Hongro Hippies (Myonga Vön Bontee), Monday, 14 August 2023 21:16 (three months ago) link

it's so good

beware of the vinyl copies btw, terrible pressing according to Discogs reviews

out-of-print LaserDisc edition (sleeve), Monday, 14 August 2023 21:18 (three months ago) link

I bought this on CD today and now I want every note that was recorded for these dates, this appears to be a selection from two nights?

out-of-print LaserDisc edition (sleeve), Tuesday, 15 August 2023 03:59 (three months ago) link

i'm looking forward to checking this out!

budo jeru, Tuesday, 15 August 2023 04:55 (three months ago) link

I love this new set, and was pleasantly surprised by the recording, after the disappointment of A Love Supreme: Live In Seattle release, where you nearly had to strain to hear Coltrane and the other horns. This recording also isn’t professional, but Coltrane and Dolphy are front-and-center, and it’s all completely thrilling. And I don’t know if Dolphy had already settled on his arrangement of “Africa,” recorded two months later, but he’s doing that piece’s French horn leaps on bass clarinet here, which is amazing to hear.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 15 August 2023 08:13 (three months ago) link

it's so good

beware of the vinyl copies btw, terrible pressing according to Discogs reviews

― out-of-print LaserDisc edition (sleeve), Monday, 14 August 2023 21:18 (yesterday) link

My copy isn't fucked but there is a weird little hiccup at the start of side three where if I don't get the needle in the exact right spot it's a all scratchy for a few seconds, it is weird and yeah it seems like generally the pressing is shoddy at best.

The set is pretty amazing, esp as a kind of bonus to the Complete 1961 Village Vanguard box

chr1sb3singer, Tuesday, 15 August 2023 14:05 (three months ago) link

three months pass...

I am obsessed rn

am I correct that the only place I can get the studio take of "One Down, One Up" is on this posthumous compilation?

out-of-print LaserDisc edition (sleeve), Saturday, 18 November 2023 17:09 (one week ago) link

the 15 minute version is also on a 90s comp called "dear old stockholm" and there are a couple of takes on the more recent "both directions at once" comp. I'm not aware of it being on any official studio album unless it's a bonus track on some CD version of something

I fell in love with the track when I heard it on the coltrane/shepp newport live album - it's pleasingly tart and astringent - coming to the studio versions later they sound a little tame in comparison

Left, Saturday, 18 November 2023 17:27 (one week ago) link

that's very helpful, thank you!

out-of-print LaserDisc edition (sleeve), Saturday, 18 November 2023 17:30 (one week ago) link

I recently wrote short reviews of 10 live Coltrane albums from 1963-67.

Tahuti Watches L&O:SVU Reruns Without His Ape (unperson), Saturday, 18 November 2023 20:40 (one week ago) link

I saw those! That's what got me on this latest kick tbh

out-of-print LaserDisc edition (sleeve), Saturday, 18 November 2023 22:08 (one week ago) link

You’re being modest Unperson. You did live recording from 61 to 67. And if you like the Coltrane/Dolphy stuff sleeve, there are some pretty high quality bootlegs from their European tour in 61.

bbq, Saturday, 18 November 2023 22:21 (one week ago) link

ooh yeah dime has a bunch, thx

out-of-print LaserDisc edition (sleeve), Saturday, 18 November 2023 22:36 (one week ago) link

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