Manufacturer: Columbia / Legacy
Brand: Miles Davis
Well, if you're going to revamp your jazz catalog, you might as well start with the greatest jazz album of all time! Includes a rare alternate take of Flamenco Sketches , and the first three songs are in their correct pitch for the first time. This is the one jazz record owned by people who don't listen to jazz, and with good reason. The band itself is extraordinary (proof of Miles Davis's masterful casting skills, if not of God's existence), listing John Coltrane and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley on saxophones, Bill Evans (or, on "Freddie Freeloader," Wynton Kelly) on piano, and the crack rhythm unit of Paul Chambers on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums. Coltrane's astringency on tenor is counterpoised to Adderley's funky self on alto, with Davis moderating between them as Bill Evans conjures up a still lake of sound on which they walk. Meanwhile, the rhythm partnership of Cobb and Chambers is prepared to click off time until eternity. It was the key recording of what became modal jazz, a music free of the fixed harmonies and forms of pop songs. In Davis's men's hands it was a weightless music, but one that refused to fade into the background. In retrospect every note seems perfect, and each piece moves inexorably towards its destiny. --John Szwed
Digitally remastered edition of the Jazz legend's groundbreaking 1965 album. A Love Supreme is generally considered to be among Coltrane's greatest works, as it melded the hard bop sensibilities of his early career with the free jazz style he adopted later. A Love Supreme is a suite about redemption, a work of pure spirit and song, that encapsulates all the struggles and aspirations of the 1960s. Following hard on the heels of the lyrical, swinging Crescent, A Love Supreme heralded Coltrane's search for spiritual and musical freedom, as expressed through polyrhythms, modalities, and purely vertical forms that seemed strange to some jazz purists, but which captivated more adventurous listeners (and rock fellow travelers such as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, and the Byrds), while initiating a series of volatile, unruly prayer offerings, including Kulu Su Mama, Ascension, Om, Meditations, Expression, Interstellar Space. From the urgent speech-like timbre of his tenor, to the serpentine textures and earthy groove of Elvin Jones's drumming, Coltrane's suite proceeds with escalating intensity, conveying a hard-fought wisdom and a beckoning serenity in the prayer-like drones of "Psalm," where Jones rolls and rumbles like thunder as Garrison and Tyner toll away suggestively--all the while Coltrane searches for that one climactic note worthy of the love he wants to share. --Chip Stern
Easily one of the most important records ever made, John Coltrane's a Love Supreme was his pinnacle studio outing that at once compiled all of his innovations from his past, spoke of his current deep spirituality, and also gave a glimpse into the next two and a half years (sadly, those would be his last). Recorded at the end of 1964, Trane's classic quartet of Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, and Jimmy Garrison stepped into the studio and created one of the most thought-provoking, concise, and technically pleasing albums of their bountiful relationship (not to mention his best-selling to date). from the undulatory (and classic) bassline at the intro to the last breathy notes, Trane is at the peak of his logical yet emotionally varied soloing while the rest of the group is remarkably in tune with Coltrane's spiritual vibe. Composed of four parts, each has a thematic progression leading to an understanding of spirituality through meditation.
KRALL DIANA WHEN I LOOK IN YOUR EYES Years after the '90s, the decade will be remembered for the rise of pianist-vocalist Diana Krall. Simply put, this British Columbian-born artist is one of the most engaging musicians to emerge from the heap of scat-happy singers high on pyrotechnics, but short on poetry. Stamped with the imprimatur of the Nat King Cole trio and blessed by her apprenticeship with the late West Coast piano giant Jimmy Rowles, Krall simply sings songs the way they're supposed to be sung: with devotion to the lyric and with attention to the groove. This CD finds Krall in familiar company with compatriots Russell Malone (on guitar), bassist John Clayton, drummers Lewis Nash and Jeff Hamilton, and vibraphonist (and former Bill Evans associate) Larry Bunker--all supported by Johnny Mandel's svelte string arrangements. Krall and crew take Irving Berlin's chestnut "Let's Face the Music and Dance" and the Sinatra-signatured "I've Got You Under My Skin" south to Brazil via a sexy bossa nova. Malone's lush guitar accompaniment complements Krall's heartfelt delivery on "When I Look in Your Eyes," and Michael Franks's "Popsicle Toes" dances courtesy of Hamilton's drum work. "Devil May Care," "East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)," The Best Thing for You," and the stridish "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" groove with a minimum of waste, while Mandel's simpatico strings steal the show on "I'll String Along with You," "Pick Yourself Up," and "Do It Again." All of which further illuminate the cool fire from this fine gift from North of the Border. --Eugene Holley Jr.
GETZ STAN / GILBERTO JOAO GETZ / GILBERTO Originally released in March 1964, this collaboration between saxophonist Stan Getz and guitarist JoÃ£o Gilberto came at seemingly the end of the bossa nova craze Getz himself had sparked in 1962 with Jazz Samba, his release with American guitarist Charlie Byrd. Jazz Samba remains the only jazz album to reach number one in the pop charts. In fact, the story goes that Getz had to push for the release of Getz/Gilberto since the company did not want to compete with its own hit; it was a good thing he did. Getz/Gilberto, which featured composer Antonio Carlos Jobim on piano, not only yielded the hit "Girl from Ipanema" (sung by Astrud Gilberto, the guitarist's wife, who had no professional experience) but also "Corcovado" ("Quiet Night")--an instant standard, and the definitive version of "Desafinado." Getz/Gilberto spent 96 weeks in the charts and won four Grammys. It remains one of those rare cases in popular music where commercial success matches artistic merit. Bossa nova's "cool" aesthetic--with its understated rhythms, rich harmonies, and slightly detached delivery--had been influenced, in part, by cool jazz. Gilberto in particular was a Stan Getz fan. Getz, with his lyricism, the bittersweet longing in his sound, and his restrained but strong swing, was the perfect fit. His lines, at once decisive and evanescent, focus the rest of the group's performance without overpowering. A classic. --Fernando Gonzalez
John Coltrane's most important and best selling album after "A Love Supreme", Blue Train gets with Rudy Van Gelder for a 24-bit mastering treatment. This edition features the complete session with alternate takes included. The tenor sax giant had signed with another label when he embarked on this one-off date for Blue Note, an excursion that paid off with an enduring modern jazz masterpiece. Boasting volley after volley of smart soloing and intuitively swinging rhythm work, Blue Train is a joy, from the coolly precise ensemble entry on the opening title piece through the set's balance of elegant hard bop conversations and smooth downshifts into ballads. John Coltrane wrote four originals for the date, all of them now regarded as standards, and assembled a rhythm section including pianist Kenny Drew, Miles Davis's rhythm section of bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones, and trumpeter Lee Morgan and trombonist Curtis Fuller, both recent Blue Note recruits. Coltrane's signature sound, now fully developed but still hewing more to familiar blues and chromatic harmonies than his later modalities, is confident and expansive, and his partners respond vividly throughout. --Sam Sutherland
Grammy-nominee Diana Krall interprets songs about love, including \All or Nothing at All Like a mink draped over mahogany, Diana Krall's luxuriously supple alto adorns the vintage songs of romance and longing found on Love Scenes with a palpable aura of glamour and late-night cool. Her ostensibly effortless command of phrasing and intonation, whether the mood is seduction or a sweet sassiness, further fortifies the opinion that the Canadian vocalist-pianist possesses one of the great female jazz voices to surface in the late 1990s. Augmented by spare but skillful instrumentation from bassist Christian McBride and guitarist Russell Malone, Krall sustains a largely quiet (though hardly sleepy) ambience throughout the CD's 12 selections, from Irving Berlin's "How Deep Is the Ocean (How High Is the Sky)," which she also uses as a showcase for her touch at the keyboard, to Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away from Me." Her swing is artfully subdued ("All or Nothing at All"), and her wry, expressive approach to "Peel Me a Grape" is pure charm. Yet Krall shines most luminously on languid gems such as "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You" and "Garden in the Rain." Anyone in search of an album ideal for watching city lights at 2 a.m. should keep Love Scenes in mind. --Terry Wood
It was a match made in heaven: Hartman's beautiful baritone voice and Coltrane's exploratory yet empathetic tenor sax. This 1963 Impulse LP is a career highlight for both these jazz giants! This is one of the three all-ballad albums that John Coltrane recorded in late 1962 and early 1963. Johnny Hartman was apparently Coltrane's suggestion, and his deep, dark voice meshes perfectly here with Coltrane's tenor. The material is well-chosen, including definitive readings of "My One and Only Love" and "Lush Life." McCoy Tyner fills out the chords, augmenting the harmonies and keeping the tone of these ballads respectful but not overly sentimental. All the players get to the deep structure of the songs and are not afraid to play in the most essential and elegant manner. This is beautiful jazz. --Michael Monhart