Review Summary: Coltrane's not dead
John Coltrane might have died 51 years ago, but he left a massive discography and an undeniably legacy within the world of jazz. Today, he's considered by many one of the greatest icons of Jazz and one of the most important musicians in the history of mankind, being compared to Mozart himself and being even praised by Miles Davis
, who always called him "the best saxophonist I have worked with
This is an album that was considered lost, and of which a few myths spoke. The few who had heard it before its disappearance called it "amazing" and even compared it to his masterpiece A Love Supreme
, mostly because these sessions were from late 1963/early 1964. Fortunately, after an arduous and strong search, we were fortunate to hear something that we never thought would be possible. Coltrane's son Ravi helped compile these sessions into something that made sense as an album statement. Furthermore, the production is wonderful and despite having a "raw" aesthetic this helps make the apparent remastering and the mythical story behind these themes more interactive and interesting.
As for the album, the first two tracks were somewhat enjoyable. "Untitled Original 11383" is a nice opener and "Nature Boy" is a short follow-up, but they left me with little impact, providing nice enough melodies and great drumming but failing to be memorable. "Nature Boy" in particular ends up feeling quite short for something which could've potentially been imbued with more passion. Fortunately, Coltrane's unique sound shines with "Untitled Original 11386", this track is quite playful and very uplifting, it feels a lot brighter than some of Coltrane's more meditative works. Next we have "Vilia", another short piece with an even lighter take than the previous track, allowing the piano and drums to truly shine, alongside with Coltrane's fantastic performance, this track truly brings a strong sense of unity to the Quartet.
It's not necessary to mention how complexly beautiful and conceptually wonderful Coltrane's interpretation is. Although it is also a bit strange, since it is like a strange experimentation of Coltrane looking for a new sound that he would soon find in his later works. "Impressions" and the closer "One Up, One Down" revive the energy from the earlier moments but with an even more hectic and swift rhythm, giving this quartet a chance to really get into a melodically improvising attitude with an excellent performance. Every element of this quartet sounds particularly agile and deft, which brings me to the fact that the physical sound of the album itself even plays a very significant and noteworthy role. And finally, "Slow Blues", probably the album's best track, manages to infuse the same brightness from the first half of the album into a more careful and restrained piece, bringing together a more intriguing and diverse set of feelings with with Coltrane's spiritual improv over.
All in all, Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album
is an album for everyone who enjoys good jazz, as well as a good introduction for people who do not know about John Coltrane's work and who try to enter the world of jazz. At the end of all the result is satisfactory, and we can listen to what really seems to be a work that reflects Coltrane's search for an unique spiritual sound. Filled with those beautiful moments of improvisation, and that incomparable musical technique, the Quartet used during this era shines once more and show us why Coltrane will never be forgotten.