1961: John Coltrane had just left Atlantic Records and signed with a fledgling jazz label called Impulse, and to mark the occasion, enlisted a large ensemble for two days at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in New Jersey. Coltrane worked with the legendary engineer on many of his Prestige sessions in the 1950s, and would continue to work with him after Africa / Brass for the rest of his life. The epic “Africa” encompasses the entire A side, and it’s as cinematic as you’ll ever hear Trane, with Elvin Jones’ hefty swaying beat and huge swells of tuba, french horn, trumpet and trombone transcribed from McCoy Tyner’s piano chords. Coltrane stretches the limits of what you can do without a single chord change for almost 17 minutes, conjuring some of the darkest vibes of his career. Side B features a laidback take on traditional English folk tune “Greensleeves” and another Trane original, “Blues Minor.” This issue includes session outtake “Song Of The Underground Railroad” featuring an exceptional performance from the entire ensemble, but Tyner’s piano solo is worth special mention. Also features Eric Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard, Reggie Workman and Mr. P.C. Remastered audiophile-grade 180g pressing on high-quality virgin vinyl, recommended.
- 180g virgin vinyl pressing
- limited edition
- music label: Jazz Wax Records 2012
reviewed by nick nightingale 11/2018