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06.29.18 More Than a Month with Miles Davis01.15.18 A Monthly Travesty with John Coltrane
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A Monthly Travesty with John Coltrane

I decided I’m going to check all of John’s solo/quartet studio albums, in chronological order, one per day, and write my thoughts on each. The ones I’ve already heard have my thoughts already in. Again, I’m excluding all co-op albums, and I’m only including stuff by John and his quartet.
1John Coltrane
Coltrane (Prestige, 1957)

Jan. 18
Coltrane’s debut is not bad by any stretch of the imagination. The first few songs, although often marred with poppy elements, still provide for an entertaining and worthy listen. However, the last half to last third of the albums feels, as much as it hurts, pretty average. Solos are relatively underwhelming in the latter, too. With all that said, it still feels like a good album. - 3.0
2John Coltrane
Blue Train

Blue Train is an emblematic album if there ever was one. Coltrane’s melodic focus, although not as experimental, provides for highly catchy and classic standards that can be repeated endlessly. The bluesy melodies are also a huge plus. - 4.5
3John Coltrane

Jan. 19
Similarly to John’s first effort, this album has a very poppy, commercial sound, even moreso than his debut. This unfortunately makes for compositions that are barely challenging in any sense, and even average for the most part. However, there is the (slightly overlong) I Want to Talk About You, a fantastic romantic classic (although I prefer Ryo Fukui’s take on it). The record, even if mostly average, also features clear maturity, and is slightly redeemed by the closer with John’s blazing (but not amazing) solo. - 3.0
4John Coltrane
Giant Steps

Yet another emblematic album, Giant Steps builds upon Coltrane’s sounds with a solo-focused song structure, more experimentally natured melodies, and incredibly innovative improvisational skills. John’s experimental sound starts to develop and he starts to open himself as a composer, clearly seen by the painstakingly and brutally honest Naima, one of Coltrane’s best tracks (if not the best). - 4.5
5John Coltrane
Lush Life

Jan. 20
John Coltrane does his stuff in a relaxed, laid back album. There’s a clear sense of maturity and the cool, casual solos are occasionally shaken up by that Coltrane edge. A worthy listen, but not nearly as daring as his other albums. Recommended for those times you want some music to accompany a nice tea and a good book. - 3.5
6John Coltrane
Coltrane Jazz

Jan. 21
Similarly to his last record, Coltrane does his thing in a relaxed way. However, this album is much more upbeat, making for some truly fun, danceable tunes. Not only that, it features excellent musicianship and the solos are great. Yum. - 4.0
7John Coltrane
My Favorite Things

Jan. 22
An album that is both deeply introspective and joyful in nature, My Favorite Things sees Coltrane truly incorporate emotion into music. From the passionately reflective nature of the title track to the upbeat yet undeniable beauty of the closer, the sax player pours his soul into his playing. While all performances are superb, the star of the show is definitely McCoy Tyner, whose unique voicings are wholly responsible of the album’s heavily philosophical feel and the junction of all musical elements showcased on the effort. A must. - 4.5
8John Coltrane

Jan. 23
Africa/Brass is filled with wholesome, texturized, bittersweet, bold melodies that move the listener because of the evident passion put in them. Coltrane and the other artists on the album sound like a single entity of somehow nostalgic but nevertheless valiant purpose. It is reminiscent of his last album, but with nostalgia-tinged, fervent emotion with heroic execution rather than beautiful introspection. - 4.5
9John Coltrane
Olé Coltrane

Jan. 24
Coltrane keeps putting out amazing music, this time using Spanish elements for direct inspiration. This is clearly seen on the opener, a sprawling 18 minute epic that uses incredibly ample instrumentation, making for one of Coltrane’s best tracks. It pulls surprises seemlessly and will not fail at invigorating the listener. The last two songs, while still solid, simply don’t match up to the magnificence and sheer brilliance of the first track. - 4.5
10John Coltrane
Settin' The Pace

Jan. 25
An honestly underwhelming effort. The first two songs are pretty good, but otherwise it’s all average. - 3.0
11John Coltrane
Coltrane Plays the Blues

Jan. 26
The title pretty much says it all. Coltrane constantly puts down, tasty, bluesy stuff but there's nothing that truly gives you the business. Still, very enjoyable. - 3.5
12John Coltrane
Coltrane (1962, Impulse)

Jan. 27
Oh yeah. Coltrane and company do what they do best with some awesome tunes. Numerous moments are hands down fantastic, like the almost time-stoppingly dramatic Soul Eyes and the utterly epic Out Of This World. The second half is not as insane, but the first half is top tier Coltrane. - 4.5
13John Coltrane
Standard Coltrane

Jan. 28
A pretty meh album. There are some cool melodies and stuff but most is dismissive. - 3.0
14John Coltrane

Jan. 29
A rather frustrated album, if that’s applicable. A few, short moments cut through the rest of the music, particularly lead melodies, but the rest doesn’t feel that noteworthy. The scarce noteworthy moments, however, pop-up rather nicely. - 3.5
15John Coltrane

Jan. 30
An album, as the title suggests, pretty much full of ballads. All compositions are well made and do feel well-thought, but an album that’s almost exclusively ballads with a similar feel and structure will inevitably hold interest for a short time. - 3.5
16John Coltrane

Jan. 31
As standard as Coltrane can be, pretty much. The last song is sweet but otherwise the album isn’t really that memorable. - 3.0
17John Coltrane
The Believer

Feb. 1
Same as before, but the only cool song is around the middle since the drumming on its head are banging. Meh otherwise. Bleh. - 3.0
18John Coltrane
Coltrane's Sound

Feb. 2
An album with some really cool ideas that inevitably falls flat a bunch of the time. Noteworthy moments are very short, but clearly visible. - 3.5
19John Coltrane

Feb. 3
A much more free album, Crescent sees Coltrane experiment further with his bare, experimental style, although not excessively. Such moments are the best on the album, but it somewhat meanders otherwise. - 3.5
20John Coltrane
Black Pearls

Feb. 4
A fun, upbeat, solid album. That’s about it. - 3.5
21John Coltrane
A Love Supreme

A masterpiece, one of the peaks of humanity and jazz itself. What more is there to say? - 5.0
22John Coltrane

Feb. 5
More standard Coltrane. - 3.0
23John Coltrane
The John Coltrane Quartet Plays

Feb. 6
Okay, now THIS is awesome. Being Coltrane’s first recording after A Love Supreme, it carries a lot from that album. The songs, although a bit strident, are simply fantastic examples of texturized experimental pieces. The music feels challengingly spiritual and evokes a very unique aura. - 4.5
24John Coltrane
The Last Trane

Feb. 7
Another release of an album recorded by early Coltrane. This is easily his best though, as the cheerful music gives off a very loving, light feel. It’s just a cool album to put on when walking around the park or riding a bike with nothing in mind. - 4.0
25John Coltrane

Feb. 8
Geez... this album is bonkers, but is also some of the most violent but sincere music I’ve ever heard. Coltrane and company employ completely free structures in order to make some of the most vibrant and interesting soundscapes I’ve ever heard. It’s a dense listen, but incredibly rewarding at that. - 4.5
26John Coltrane

Feb. 9
Coltrane pretty much plays incredibly spiritual, free jazz. Although most moments are memorable, there are temporary lapses of dullness that still make for an awesome record. - 4.0
27John Coltrane
Kulu Se Mama

Feb. 10
Daaaamn... some of the most expressive Coltrane has ever been, pushing his spiritual approach even further. All the songs, which are also free in structure, feature some insanely intense emotion by the saxophonist. What an album. - 4.5
28John Coltrane

Feb. 11
Another of Coltrane's experimental offerings, Expression manages to capture the saxophonist's experimental leanings once again in a subdued, tasteful fashion. - 4.0
29John Coltrane

Feb. 12
A biiiit bizarre at parts, I can see why Coltrane didn't release this. Ah well, it's still good. Ooooommmmmmmmmmm. - 3.0
30John Coltrane

Feb. 13
An album with almost a religious aura to it, with the closer aptly capturing transitioning soundscapes and moods. Some prime material here folks, although it falls off every now and again. - 4.0
31John Coltrane
Sun Ship

Feb. 14
More intense avant-jazz with the man. What else to say? - 4.0
32John Coltrane
Coltrane Time

Feb. 15
Some early, unreleased Coltrane material. Mostly pretty good though. Worth a nice listen. - 3.5
33John Coltrane
Interstellar Space

Feb. 16
One of Coltrane's most unique albums. Only performing with a drummer, he explores the vastness of outer space in brazen, raw, unfiltered, brash fashion. It's just a tad bit cumbersome to me. If you're a fan of his experimental era, this is a must though. - 4.0
34John Coltrane
First Meditations (For Quartet)

Feb. 17
Solid songwriting and Coltrane's signature sound, but not much more. - 3.5
35John Coltrane
Stellar Regions

Feb. 18
An expansion on Interstellar Space, with some of the same tracks. This one feels more spacey and less brazen though. - 4.0
36John Coltrane
Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album

Jun. 29 [BONUS]
Welp, seems like we weren't missing much. This is pretty much a mixed bag of unreleased material from Coltrane's modal-experimental era. It's really not as engaging as his actually released studio albums, and it's not a matter of the tracks' composition; it's just that the takes on the songs themselves aren't that amazing, compared to some studio versions of this material (see: Nature Boy on The John Coltrane Quartet Plays). There little noteworthy here, but it's good hearing Coltrane again. - 3.0
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