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Soundohm

File under: Free Improvisation

John Coltrane

My Favorite Things - Graz 1962

Label: ezz-thetics

Format: CD

Genre: Experimental

Out of stock

**In process of stocking** What these performances then, and those in Impression Graz 1962, reveal is a great artist in a period of continued exploration and uncertainties, committed to integrating the exactness of order and the abandon of ecstasy, and reconfirming his improvisational quest as a spiritual discipline. But there were profound changes still to come. - Art Longe

The four tracks on this release have been selected from the 1962 concert tape which Hat Hut Records has licensed from ORF Stelemark, Graz, Austria. I approached the program as I would have done with a studio recording, by deciding not simply to reproduce the concert, but to present the music from a dramatic perspective. The first release, which is available as ezz-thetics 1019 presents the selected portion of the concert with a different dramatic perspective. - Werner X. Uehlinger

Details
Cat. number: ezz-thetics
Year: 2020
My Favorite Things Graz 1962 documents part of one such performance by Coltrane’s Classic Quartet, recorded for posterity by Austrian radio and the province of opportunistic bootleggers ever since | Read more

There is no new John Coltrane music. His extant oeuvre is finite, cut short after the saxophonist’s life ended in the summer of 1967. The guiding variable now is not one of output, but rather access. A remarkable amount of Coltrane’s catalog remains in print and available, but there is also a sizeable section of the larger recorded sum that has yet to receive properly sanctioned circulation. Much of that latter body of work is in the form of studio rehearsals, but there are select few concert recordings that also fall into this category. My Favorite Things Graz 1962 documents part of one such performance by Coltrane’s Classic Quartet, recorded for posterity by Austrian radio and the province of opportunistic bootleggers ever since. 

The disc’s four selections complement an earlier compilation on the Ezz-thetics label containing the rest of the concert and released under the title Impressions. Swiss producer Werner Uehlinger took the liberty of resequencing the set list across both discs in the interest of altering the dramatic perspective of the music. Listener opinion toward this decision and practice may vary, but there’s no denying the primacy and immediacy of the performance, which benefits from a meticulous recent remaster by audio engineering ace, Peter Pfister. His ministrations breathe renewed life into bassist Jimmy Garrison’s contributions, which graduate from muffled throbs to warmly discernable webs of pizzicato facility and agility. 

The improvements are striking on the opening sprint through the Coltrane original “Mr. P.C.” still showing source tape age and imperfections but bolstered with brightness and depth not previously present in earlier unlicensed iterations. Flanked by Elvin Jones splashing and crashing cymbals, McCoy Tyner’s fissile solo gives way the leader’s rigorous vertical improvisations. This was a time with Coltrane was coming to terms with growing conflicts between his commercial and artistic aspirations. Brevity and concision were not watchwords he constrained himself to in concert. His solos here and elsewhere in the set are statements in impassioned, justifiable excess as an extended series of high velocity choruses erupt and immolate from the bell of his tenor. Jones eventually answers with an appropriately volcanic drum solo. 

A relatively brief but poignant stroll through the ballad “Every Time We Say Goodbye” leads to sequential mammoth renderings of significant signposts in Coltrane’s repertoire trajectory, “Bye Bye Blackbird” and “My Favorite Things.” The former was a staple in the concert songbook of Miles Davis when the saxophonist was in his band. Coltrane’s first large scale commercial breakthrough came with the studio version of the latter. The band devours both tunes voraciously and together they clock to over three-quarters of an hour. Once again, the refurbished sound uncovers welcome revelations in both individual contributions and interplay. If only it were possible for Pfister to apply his restorative powers to other Coltrane concerts, the saxophonist’s legacy would be expertly served.

Derek Taylor

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