John Coltrane   Ascension
4.2
excellent
Release Date: 1965
Tracklist

 Full ReviewRatings (223) Give your Rating

5.0 classicBrendan Nixon | February 27th 16

more emotionally draining than anything i could ever think of. it's cliche and gay as fuck, but this is so intense because it is unguided emotion; no chords, no key, no time signature, just feeling. hail oh hail.

1 Bumps | Bump

4.5 superbAlabaster Jones | January 16th 16

Dave Liebman, who was a great saxophonist in his own right, recalled Ascension as "the torch that lit the whole free jazz thing". And while men like Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, and Pharaoh Sanders certainly got things rolling, John Coltrane set it firmly in motion. Ascension is a study of many things; the creative minds of some of jazz's greatest artists, the inner workings of dissonance and freedom as opposed to melody and structure, and just plain having a good time. And all of this was done pretty much at the drop of a hat, which is impressive if I do say so myself. I think, because it was done in such a way, that it's hard to say what Coltrane's purpose behind this record was. To make a statement regarding jazz, improvisation, and structure? Or to just create with some of his most trusted colleagues? Maybe that's why Ascension is so enticing; it doesn't really have an inherent meaning, so you create one for yourself if you so choose. Whatever the case may be, this is a truly beautiful, impressive, consuming listen, one that every fan of jazz owes themselves to hear.

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5.0 classicJoannaSwanson | July 7th 14

Ebb and flow, tension and release, music at its purest (and finest!) form...

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5.0 classicrabbit | October 16th 13

so yeah

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5.0 classicAdam Thomas EMERITUS | April 27th 12

Ascension is the sound of two dueling quartets playing opposite of each other in a maddening crescendo of adventurous rhythms.

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5.0 classicDisplayed | October 29th 09

This is Coltrane at his most experimental and avantgarde. Taking jazz into the realms of absolute freedom, both editions are masterpieces on improvisation, with every instrument contributing to the greater work. A record as inlfuential as A Love Supreme and anything by Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra, this is a must have.

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4.5 superbArtHerring | June 10th 08

Perhaps Coltrane's most avant-garde, despite its reputation for being "inaccessible," still delivers an amazing experience of sound. Filled with Coltrane's loud squeaks of his saxophone, constant, minimalistic drumming, and other horns, almost all completely separately and independently, oblivious to Coltrane, playing behind him. Both versions of Ascension, each about 40 minutes long, amazingly similar and yet also different. If you listen closely, there are a few recognizable, repeated themes or patterns, but not enough (thankfully) to give it definite form or make it close to predictable. It's not something necessarily you'd jog to (though nobody's stopping you), but it nevertheless is a true work of genius.

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