* Limited edition 180 gram solid orange coloured vinyl. 2020 Stock * This 1961 Impulse album was particularly notable for Coltrane’s use of the ex- panded sound provided by a ‘big band’ with trumpets, trombone, baritone sax, Eric Dolphy’s bass clarinet and flute, and (most unusually) French horns, euphonium and tuba. Overlaying this backing is one of Coltrane’s great quartets with Messrs. Tyner (who, with Dolphy, did the arranging), Workman and Jones. The album’s centrepiece is the extended Coltrane composition, ‘Africa’. The tune’s luscious arrangement provides hints of Ellington, Gil Evans and even Charles Mingus in the brass harmonics and ensemble dynamism that Coltrane manages to coax from these players.
Elsewhere, the other Coltrane original, ‘Blues Minor’, provides another trademark blast of tenor pyrotechnics from the man who hardly lets up for the tune’s seven-and-a-half minutes. By comparison, Coltrane’s version of Greensleeves is a relatively restrained affair, in effect, mimicking the man’s superlative version of My Favourite Things recorded the previous year, with its jaunty soprano sax theme, but given an added dimension with its ‘big band’ accompaniment. Finally, there’s ‘Song Of The Underground’, a traditional song recorded at the same session and included here as a bonus track.
All tracks orchestrated and conducted by Eric Dolphy. John Coltrane - tenor & soprano sax; McCoy Tyner - piano, Jimmy Garrison - bass: Elvin Jones - drums; Plus: Booker Little, Freddie Hubbard, Julian Priester, Eric Dolphy, Paul Chambers, Art Davis, and others, Recorded May and June 1961.
The format's hardly the mainstream big band of the time – as Coltrane's filled the group with very hip players – including Booker Little, Freddie Hubbard, Julian Priester, and Eric Dolphy – in addition to usual compatriots who include McCoy Tyner, Reggie Workman, and Elvin Jones. The tunes have a soaring, modal sort of pulse – one that's filled with color and light from the addition of the other horn players, but which still has plenty of space for extended, exploratory solos. Coltrane plays both tenor and soprano sax – and titles include the legendary 16 minute track "Africa", a classic reading of "Greensleeves", redone here as a modal searching spiritual track, and "Blues Minor".