John Coltrane
Meditations


4.5
superb

Review

by STOMP THE MUDS USER (5 Reviews)
June 23rd, 2007 | 15 replies


Release Date: 1966 | Tracklist


We all know John Coltrane, whether it be through Miles Davis' quintet and the Kind of Blue album, or his own legendary career as a solo jazz artist. We have all heard A Love Supreme, whether we like it or not. When discussing jazz with someone, there is a chance that at one point or another, Coltrane will be brought up. This is not only because he is a popular figure in music, but also because the man, in his all too brief lifetime, recorded some of the most inspiring music to flow through the ear.

A large portion of this music could only happen because of his so-called spiritual awakening and his effort to overcome alcohol and heroin addiction (something which was common among jazz musicians). A Love Supreme may have been his ultimate testament of faith, serving as a sort of prayer or collection of psalms, but his most moving work music was created as he shifted his focus on free-jazz and the avant-garde. Ascension was colossal; a solid forty minutes of religious orgasms. The addition of tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders only furthered the ecstasy.

Next came Meditations; a continuation of the avant sound. Returning to the lineup again is Pharoah Sanders, McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones, along with Jimmy Garrison on bass and Rashied Ali on drums. All of these musicians fulfilled their purpose, contributing to the seemingly amorphous nature of Coltrane's later period music. "The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost" begins immediately with Coltrane and Sanders' interplay and feverish squeals slowly easing in, as the rhythm section builds and John plays the first solo on Meditations; this is when you know how wondrous the experience really is going to be. Following the chaotically serene opener is "Compassion" and "Love", two pieces which rely much less on fractured rhythms and solos, allowing the listener room to breathe. Though seemingly tranquil, both give one the feeling that some things are going to explode.

Surprisingly enough, nothing after these two peaceful laments comes as close to the feverish "The Father and the Sun and the Holy Ghost". Although "Consequences" begins initially as an exercise in Sanders' trademark sheets of sound and how hard each musician can push each other, it gradually shifts pace and mood until we are left with a wonderful piano solo courtesy of McCoy Tyner. This provides an apt transition into the even more aptly named "Serenity". A brief three minutes in length, "Serenity" closes an album of excitement with peacefulness and delicacy, something that John Coltrane more than likely felt himself when he discovered something above humanity.

Despite obvious negative connotations forced up free-jazz and the avant-garde, it is not particularly hard to immerse yourself in Meditations, an album which somehow emulates peaceful introspection and the world of the spiritual through abrasive sheets of sound and clusters of rhythms. It may not be as frequently recognized as past albums such as Giant Steps or A Love Supreme, but Meditations serves as a unique look into the mind of John Coltrane and his sextet, which is unrivaled by the rest of his recorded works. You may never quite enjoy the sounds present, but you may be capable of appreciating them.


user ratings (99)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Fort23
June 23rd 2007


2475 Comments


Good review, another great Coltrane Album.

MeowMeow
June 23rd 2007


662 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review. I only have A Love Supreme and Giant Steps, and it sounds like I need this one. Jazz needs more love around these parts.

Fort23
June 23rd 2007


2475 Comments


Agreed^.
I'm working on a few Jazz reviews, but I realy gotta diagram it out.
Props to blackmilk. Get busy...

JumpTheF**kUp
June 23rd 2007


2710 Comments


Excellent review, what were you thinking of reviewing after this?
I was going to do Sonny Rollins' Saxophone Colossus as well as Mingus' Pithecanthropus Erectus, but I won't if you're going to do them.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
June 23rd 2007


2806 Comments


Yeah so I need this album.

Fort23
June 23rd 2007


2475 Comments


[QUOTE=JumpTheF**kUp's ;14875765]I was going to do Sonny Rollins' Saxophone Colossus as well as Mingus' Pithecanthropus Erectus, but I won't if you're going to do them.[/QUOTE]

No don't worry, I'm working on Thelonius Monk's, Genius of Modern Music: Volume 1, and High Step by John Coltrane. Might do Bitches Brew and the Shape of Jazz to come.



This Message Edited On 06.23.07

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2007


15737 Comments


Nevermind.This Message Edited On 06.23.07

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

Zebra
Moderator
June 23rd 2007


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is Coltrane's best album, it can be difficult in certain parts but that's what makes it so awesome.

blackmilk
June 24th 2007


584 Comments


Yes, it is his best.

ValiumMan
June 24th 2007


493 Comments


Very good review. Not my favorite Trane (would have to be Ascension, just so fucking massive), but still very good. The problem I have with this is that it never really catches up to the first track.

Two-Headed Boy
June 24th 2007


4527 Comments


Man I was just listening to this album last night. Classic stuff.

ohcleverhansyou
June 24th 2007


885 Comments


A good review. This sounds like a good album, but do you think I should get Giant Steps before something like this? I only have A Love Supreme from him right now. And someone please do Sonny Rollins' Saxophone Colossus.

blackmilk
June 24th 2007


584 Comments


This album almost sounds like it was recorded live. I like that feeling.

Neoteric
June 30th 2007


3243 Comments


Great review and such, I just got round to reading it there.

Chrisjon89
May 13th 2013


3625 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

man they weren't fucking around on this one



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