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John Coltrane is definitely one of the greatest tenor and soprano saxophonists ever, having also written many jazz standards, such as Blue Trane and Impressions.
At first, Coltrane started out as a clarinettist, and horn player, but at school he was influenced by hearing players including Lester Young and Johnny Hodges, causing him to switch to alto sax before switching to tenor sax after doing military service during world war two and playing in the U.S. Navy Band. Throughout his life, Coltrane was an alcoholic, and a heroin addict (finally dieing from liver cancer in 1967), but he managed to overcome this, and it was during overcoming his heroin addiction that he wrote perhaps his most important and prolific work - A Love Supreme - a four part work in which Coltrane tried to express his love for and worship of God, with Coltrane playing not from music, but from a prayer in the last movement - psalm.
Throughout his life, Coltrane was trying to push the boundaries of jazz, creating new and exciting music. Throughout his life,however there were also a few standards which he kept returning to, such as My Favourite Things, which he used to love to play, and would sometimes simply play this one tune for an entire concert!
I personally prefer some of Coltrane's earlier works - my favourite C.D. of his being Blue Trane (1957), because I find them easy to listen to, and featuring incredible solo's from Coltrane (i also like the trumpeter on this album - Lee Morgan ), with some of his later works, although being teachnichally phenomenal, being a little to pioneering for my taste (such as some of the tracks on "meditations" - 1965).
Coltrane, throughout his life, was lucky to get the chance to play with some of the greatest ever jazz musicians, including Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Thelonius Monk, Eric Dolphy and many others.
Coltrane is definitely one of the best saxophonists ever, and definitely worth a listen. Some Good C.D.'s you should check out are: Blue Trane, Giant Steps, Thelonius Monk with John Coltrane, A Love Supreme, ... and many others!
There have been numerous John Coltrane introductions, surveys, and best-ofs through the ... more
years, but never one quite like Legacy. It draws on Coltrane's recordings for several labels--including Prestige, Blue Note and Atlantic, as well as Impulse!--and as a result it's able to present both his early and his late work. Further, it's a four-CD set, its length affording the scale that Coltrane's work demands. There are some brilliant sideman performances with Miles Davis and Thelonius Monk (the stand-out "Trinkle, Tinkle"), as well as essential tracks from early recordings such as "Lazy Bird." Selected and sequenced by Coltrane's son, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, the set takes a gently theoretical approach to Coltrane's music, with each CD a chronological journey through a different aspect of his music. Disc one emphasises Coltrane's approaches to harmony and melody; disc two features his innovative approach to rhythm. Disc three concentrates on the creative relationship between Coltrane and drummer Elvin Jones, while disc four is a collection of bristling live performances. Along the way one hears many of Coltrane's greatest performances: the accelerated chordal improvisation of "Giant Steps", the wailing soprano saxophone of "My Favorite Things", the blistering tenor of "Impressions", the virtuoso cadenza of "I Want to Talk About You," and the lyrical majesty of "Wise One." There's room here for contrasting versions of "Impressions," "Naima," and "Nature Boy" that demonstrate Coltrane's gifts for transforming his most familiar material. There's also an unissued live version of "One Up, One Down" and some examples of the demanding music of Coltrane's final years. It's a brilliant selection, revealing both the depth and breadth of an always-impassioned musical genius. --Stuart Broomer