*In process of stocking* "Recorded on the 1963 tour of Europe, this is the definitive John Coltrane Quartet at its musical peak. My edition of the Penguin Guide to Jazz suggests that the 1963 tour was ‘slightly anti-climactic’; on the basis of these tracks, I have to disagree. Although, compared with say, the Stockholm recording of the same tour, this set feels much stronger (even though the pieces are more or less the same, taken from the short set list that the Quartet toured in the October and November of that year). The recordings are made from radio broadcasts and this inevitably creates a distorted sound in places. I guess you could argue that the recordings should be filtered to within an inch of their lives to remove the imperfections, but it is the muffle and distortion that lends an authenticity to the recordings. I would argue that too 'clean' a sound could lose some of the immediacy of the playing. Who remembers the excitement of listening to late-night radio with a single ear-piece? If the music is as good as this, then the quality of the recording can be excused.
This really is the John Coltrane Quartet playing as a quartet at the peak of its powers; not John Coltrane with support players but an integrated team of virtuoso musicians. As a document of the period between his Atlantic and Impulse years this is an interesting record of how sounds in the Quartet are developing, how Coltrane is experimenting (still within the strict confines of bop time signatures) with his style and sound, how Elvin Jones crashes through the rhythm and McCoy Tyner becomes one of the most accomplished bop pianists." - Chris Baber