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Coltrane, John Quartet: My Favorite Things Graz 1962 (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

The 2nd volume from tenor & soprano saxophonist John Coltrane 1962 tour of Europe and Scandinavia, heard here in late November at Stefaniensaal, Graz with his quartet of pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones, the band playing classic numbers under the influence of Coltrane's expanding drive to transform his music toward greater freedom.
 

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Personnel:



John Coltrane-tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone

McCoy Tyner-piano

Jimmy Garrison-double bass

Elvin Jones-drums


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UPC: 752156102021

Label: ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd
Catalog ID: ezz-thetics 1020
Squidco Product Code: 29307

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Stefaniensaal, in Graz, Austria, on November 28th, 1962, by ORF Steiermark.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"In a revealing interview with French journalist Francois Postif from November 1961 (reprinted in Coltrane on Coltrane [Chicago Review Press], edited by Chris DeVito), John Coltrane explained his attitude - at that point in time - towards improvisation. "Here's how I play: I take off from a point and go as far as possible. But, hopefully, I'll never lose my way. I say hopefully, because what especially interests me is to discover the ways that I never suspected were possible. My phrasing isn't a simple prolongation of my musical ideas, and I'm happy that my technique permits me to go very far in this domain, but I must add that it's always in a very conscious manner. I 'localize' - that is to say that I think always in a given area. It infrequently happens that I think of the totality of a solo, and very briefly: I always return to the little fraction of the solo that I'm involved in playing. Chords have become something of an obsession for me, which gives me the impression that I'm looking at the music through the wrong end of the binoculars."

Coltrane's need to stretch out, to play uncommonly long solos, to use improvisation as an arena of discovery within a self-defined "given area" - primarily a pattern of intervals in a single or varying rhythmic phrase, or the inner reconstruction of a sequence of chords - was gradually emerging by 1957, the year that found him ending his initial sojourn with Miles Davis, and recording as a leader for the first time. Not long after, around the same time he was freeing himself of his alcohol and drug dependency, Coltrane joined Thelonious Monk's quartet, which challenged the saxophonist's harmonic knowledge, while feeding his burgeoning impulse for solos of extended exploration on those frequent occasions when Monk left the bandstand, leaving Coltrane to interact with bass and drums. This stimulating experience, along with a subsequent return to Miles, his introduction to modal structures, and several years of changing collaborators and diverse sessions on his own recordings, brought Coltrane to the point of his statement above - and the surprising suggestion that he felt the specific nature of his musical quest might be distancing him from the answers he was seeking.

By the time of this Fall 1962 tour of Europe and Scandinavia, for all of his commitment to enlarging the scope and scale of his musical perspective (which by now included a long-term awareness of the modal variations and microtonality of Indian ragas, as well as polyrhythms in African music, and their spiritual significance in each case), Coltrane had something of a crisis in confidence, simultaneously the result of his feelings about the negative critical response he had been receiving for several years; a problem with his tenor saxophone mouthpiece that directly affected his sound (a serious matter of personal/musical identity); his record label (Impulse) pressuring him for commercial success following his "hit" for Atlantic, "My Favorite Things;" and the nagging question of keeping an audience interested in his ever-more-radically evolving creative growth.

The Coltrane we hear in this Graz concert is in the process of trying to reconcile these conflicts. The fact that the quartet repeated the same tunes from concert to concert (recordings have been preserved from eleven concerts in nine cities, with only "Chasin' the Trane," "Tranein' In," and "Naima" as substitutions for what is heard in Graz) indicates that Coltrane still wanted to believe in the transformational potential of material the audience could recognize. "Bye Bye Blackbird," retained from the Miles Davis days, has Coltrane accelerating, slipping into chromatic substitutions, and altering the tenor's tone, with "Mr. P.C." the most intense performance of the set, and "Every Time We Say Goodbye" a brief lyrical respite between the extended outings.

Which leaves us with "My Favorite Things." Coltrane played the piece at every concert of the 1961 overseas tour with Eric Dolphy, as well as this '62 tour (except perhaps the concert in Milan, as the discographies are inconclusive), yet again throughout his 1963 European/Scandinavian tour, and on and on, until it was eventually torched by Pharoah Sanders' tenor in 1966 at the Village Vanguard again, and immolated in the recorded power struggles of Japan, Philadelphia, and his "last live recording" in New York, April 1967. It became an ironic metaphor of his dependency and freedom - to be revered, reexamined, revamped, but never ignored.

What these performances then, and those in Impressions Graz 1962 (ezz-thetics 1019), reveal is a great artist in a period of continued exploration amid 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 Lange, from the liner notes



This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

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Artist Biographies

"John Coltrane, in full John William Coltrane, byname Trane, (born September 23, 1926, Hamlet, North Carolina, U.S.-died July 17, 1967, Huntington, New York), American jazz saxophonist, bandleader, and composer, an iconic figure of 20th-century jazz.John Coltrane, 1966.

Coltrane's first musical influence was his father, a tailor and part-time musician. John studied clarinet and alto saxophone as a youth and then moved to Philadelphia in 1943 and continued his studies at the Ornstein School of Music and the Granoff Studios. He was drafted into the navy in 1945 and played alto sax with a navy band until 1946; he switched to tenor saxophone in 1947. During the late 1940s and early '50s, he played in nightclubs and on recordings with such musicians as Eddie ("Cleanhead") Vinson, Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic, and Johnny Hodges. Coltrane's first recorded solo can be heard on Gillespie's "We Love to Boogie" (1951).

Coltrane came to prominence when he joined Miles Davis's quintet in 1955. His abuse of drugs and alcohol during this period led to unreliability, and Davis fired him in early 1957. He embarked on a six-month stint with Thelonious Monk and began to make recordings under his own name; each undertaking demonstrated a newfound level of technical discipline, as well as increased harmonic and rhythmic sophistication.

During this period Coltrane developed what came to be known as his "sheets of sound" approach to improvisation, as described by poet LeRoi Jones (later Amiri Baraka): "The notes that Trane was playing in the solo became more than just one note following another. The notes came so fast, and with so many overtones and undertones, that they had the effect of a piano player striking chords rapidly but somehow articulating separately each note in the chord, and its vibrating subtones." Or, as Coltrane himself said, "I start in the middle of a sentence and move both directions at once." The cascade of notes during his powerful solos showed his infatuation with chord progressions, culminating in the virtuoso performance of "Giant Steps" (1959).

Coltrane's tone on the tenor sax was huge and dark, with clear definition and full body, even in the highest and lowest registers. His vigorous, intense style was original, but traces of his idols Johnny Hodges and Lester Young can be discerned in his legato phrasing and portamento (or, in jazz vernacular, "smearing," in which the instrument glides from note to note with no discernible breaks). From Monk he learned the technique of multiphonics, by which a reed player can produce multiple tones simultaneously by using a relaxed embouchure (i.e., position of the lips, tongue, and teeth), varied pressure, and special fingerings. In the late 1950s, Coltrane used multiphonics for simple harmony effects (as on his 1959 recording of "Harmonique"); in the 1960s, he employed the technique more frequently, in passionate, screeching musical passages.

Coltrane returned to Davis's group in 1958, contributing to the "modal phase" albums Milestones (1958) and Kind of Blue (1959), both considered essential examples of 1950s modern jazz. (Davis at this point was experimenting with modes-i.e., scale patterns other than major and minor.) His work on these recordings was always proficient and often brilliant, though relatively subdued and cautious.

After ending his association with Davis in 1960, Coltrane formed his own acclaimed quartet, featuring pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones. At this time Coltrane began playing soprano saxophone in addition to tenor. Throughout the early 1960s Coltrane focused on mode-based improvisation in which solos were played atop one- or two-note accompanying figures that were repeated for extended periods of time (typified in his recordings of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's "My Favorite Things"). At the same time, his study of the musics of India and Africa affected his approach to the soprano sax. These influences, combined with a unique interplay with the drums and the steady vamping of the piano and bass, made the Coltrane quartet one of the most noteworthy jazz groups of the 1960s. Coltrane's wife, Alice (also a jazz musician and composer), played the piano in his band during the last years of his life.

During the short period between 1965 and his death in 1967, Coltrane's work expanded into a free, collective (simultaneous) improvisation based on prearranged scales. It was the most radical period of his career, and his avant-garde experiments divided critics and audiences.

Coltrane's best-known work spanned a period of only 12 years (1955-67), but, because he recorded prolifically, his musical development is well-documented. His somewhat tentative, relatively melodic early style can be heard on the Davis-led albums recorded for the Prestige and Columbia labels during 1955 and '56. Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane (1957) reveals Coltrane's growth in terms of technique and harmonic sense, an evolution further chronicled on Davis's albums Milestones and Kind of Blue. Most of Coltrane's early solo albums are of a high quality, particularly Blue Train (1957), perhaps the best recorded example of his early hard bop style (see bebop). Recordings from the end of the decade, such as Giant Steps (1959) and My Favorite Things (1960), offer dramatic evidence of his developing virtuosity. Nearly all of the many albums Coltrane recorded during the early 1960s rank as classics; A Love Supreme (1964), a deeply personal album reflecting his religious commitment, is regarded as especially fine work. His final forays into avant-garde and free jazz are represented by Ascension and Meditations (both 1965), as well as several albums released posthumously."

-Encyclopaedia Britannica (https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Coltrane)
11/29/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"McCoy Tyner, in full Alfred McCoy Tyner, also called Sulaimon Saud, (born December 11, 1938, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.), American jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer, noted for his technical virtuosity and dazzling improvisations.McCoy Tyner.

Tyner began performing with local jazz ensembles while in his mid-teens. He met saxophonist John Coltrane in 1955 and, after a brief stint (1959) with a group led by Art Farmer and Benny Golson, helped Coltrane form his renowned quartet in 1960. Tyner developed his signature strong pentatonic chord-playing style and lightning-fast runs during his years with Coltrane. In addition, the group began incorporating elements of African and other musical genres into their playing style.

Striking out on his own in 1965, Tyner led a variety of ensembles (for many years including bassist Ron Carter) and also worked solo and extensively as a sideman. From the mid-1980s he performed largely in a trio, but he also formed a big band that made occasional appearances. Tyner made dozens of recordings in his own name and contributed to dozens more. Notable among his own albums are The Real McCoy (1967), Sahara (1972), 4 × 4 (1980), and Infinity (1995) and, with his big band, Uptown/Downtown (1988). Tyner converted to Islam in the mid-1950s and adopted the name Sulaimon Saud."

-Encyclopaedia Britannica (https://www.britannica.com/biography/McCoy-Tyner)
11/29/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"James Emory Garrison (March 3, 1934 April 7, 1976) was an American jazz double bassist. He is best remembered for his association with John Coltrane from 1961 to 1967.

Garrison was raised in both Miami, Florida and Philadelphia where he learned to play bass. Garrison came of age in the midst of a thriving Philadelphia jazz scene that included fellow bassists Reggie Workman and Henry Grimes, pianist McCoy Tyner and trumpeter Lee Morgan. Between 1957 and 1962, Garrison played and recorded with trumpeter Kenny Dorham; clarinetist Tony Scott; drummer Philly Joe Jones; and saxophonists Bill Barron, Lee Konitz, and Jackie McLean, as well as Curtis Fuller, Benny Golson, Lennie Tristano, and Pharoah Sanders, among others. In 1959 he first appeared on record with Ornette Coleman on "Art of the Improvisers" (Atlantic, 1959). He continued to work with many leaders, including Walter Bishop, Jr., Coleman, Dorham, and Cal Massey for the next two years.

He formally joined Coltrane's quartet in 1962, replacing Workman. The long trio blues "Chasin' the Trane" is probably his first recorded performance with Coltrane and Elvin Jones. Garrison performed on many classic Coltrane recordings, including A Love Supreme. In concert with Coltrane, Garrison would often play unaccompanied improvised solos, sometimes as the prelude to a song before the other musicians joined in. After John Coltrane's death, Garrison worked and recorded with Alice Coltrane, Hampton Hawes, Archie Shepp, Clifford Thornton and groups led by Elvin Jones.

Garrison also had a long association with Ornette Coleman, first recording with him on Ornette on Tenor and appeared on the outtake compilation Art of the Improvisers. He and drummer Elvin Jones have been credited with eliciting more forceful playing than usual from Coleman on the albums New York Is Now! and Love Call.

In 1971 and 1972, Garrison taught as a Visiting Artist at Wesleyan University and Bennington College.

Jimmy Garrison had four daughters and a son. Garrison and his first wife Robbie had daughters Lori, Joy and Robin. Then later with his second wife, Italy-based dancer and choreographer Roberta Escamilla Garrison, came Maia Claire and Matthew.

Matthew, Joy and Maia Claire are accomplished artists in their own right. Matthew Garrison is a bass guitar player and the founder/owner of ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, NY. He has performed and recorded with Joe Zawinul, Chaka Khan, The Saturday Night Live Band, John McLaughlin, Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Steve Coleman, Whitney Houston, Pino Daniele, John Scofield, Paul Simon, Tito Puente and many others. Joy Garrison sang alongside Barney Kessel, Cameron Brown, Tony Scott and many others. Maia Claire (Garrison-Trinn), former soloist with the dance troupe Urban Bush Women, currently works a Dance & Health Educator in Altamonte Springs, Florida.

Jimmy Garrison died of lung cancer on April 7, 1976. His family legacy includes five grandchildren, Keith Owens, Glenda Rose Aiello, Benjamin Garrison, Lucas Garrison and Salif Alessandro Trinn.

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Jimmy Garrison among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Garrison)
11/29/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Elvin Ray Jones (September 9, 1927 - May 18, 2004) was an American jazz drummer of the post-bop era. He showed an interest in drums at a young age, watching the circus bands march by his family's home in Pontiac, Michigan. He served in the United States Army from 1946 to 1949 and subsequently played in a Detroit house band led by Billy Mitchell. He moved to New York City in 1955 and worked as a sideman for Charles Mingus, Teddy Charles, Bud Powell and Miles Davis.

From 1960 to 1966 he was a member of the John Coltrane quartet (along with Jimmy Garrison on bass and McCoy Tyner on piano), a celebrated recording phase, appearing on such albums as A Love Supreme. Following his work with Coltrane, Jones led several small groups, some under the name The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine. His brothers Hank Jones and Thad Jones were also jazz musicians with whom he recorded. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1995."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elvin_Jones)
11/29/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. MR. P.C. 17:18

2. Everytime We Say Good bye 5:56

3. Bye Bye Blackbird 23:01

4. My Favorite Things 24:27

Related Categories of Interest:


Hat Art
Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
Quartet Recordings
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
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