John Coltrane with the Red Garland Trio
[Rudy Van Gelder Remasters]
First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2007, Volume 14, #7
Written by John Metzger
Tue July 3, 2007, 06:00 AM CDT
Not only has John Coltrane become a gargantuan figure in jazz, but also the music that he made in his prime has become embedded quite firmly within the consciousness of popular culture. Therefore, itís strange to hear him sound as normal as he does on Traneing In, his 1957 set with the Red Garland Trio. Itís not that he failed to bring his own perspective to the work either. After all, he had developed, very early in his career, a method of playing the saxophone that lent everything he did a distinctive hue. As a bandleader, however, he still was searching for his footing, and while he had spent several years working with Garland and bass player Paul Chambers as part of Miles Davisí outfit, much of the material on Traneing In embeds its flashes of brilliance within a lot of ideas that never fully coalesce. Although the title track later would assume classic status via Coltraneís concert performances, its studio counterpart is noticeably lacking in direction. The solos by Garland, Coltrane, and Chambers are intriguing, but in the end, they are too compartmentalized to unify the piece. Bass Blues fares better, and tucked within its hard bop core are hints of where the fabled saxophonist would head during the sessions for Blue Trane, which were held just a month later. Similarly, the ballads are reasonably straightforward, though they also more thoroughly highlight the ensembleís capabilities as well as its potential. The tender yearning of Slow Dance, in particular, is rendered in a breathtakingly beautiful fashion. Granted, there are better starting points for exploring Coltraneís vast legacy, but for those who already have absorbed his masterpieces, Traneing In provides an insightful glimpse into the embryonic stages of the saxophonistís never-ending spiritual quest for transcendence and perfection.
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Other Rudy Van Gelder Remasters Releases
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
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