Indelible live recordings from the height of John Contrane's career. Originally released in 1977 by Norman Granz's Pablo Records, Afro Blue Impressions is made up of nine live performances recorded in Berlin in November, 1962 and Stockholm in October, 1963. The double album features Coltrane's classic quartet of pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones. How these live recordings came out on Pablo is a bit of a mystery as Coltrane was still under contract with Impulse! at the time of their recording. Nonetheless they show Coltrane approaching his 1964 zenith with A Love Supreme and everything that would come after. The performances stick to his quartet's classic book, with the legendary saxophonist exploring and re-exploring "My Favorite Things," "Naima," "I Want to Talk About You," and "Impressions." You can feel the boundaries being pushed, but Coltrane is still melodically focused on these recordings. There are signs of the free jazz experimentation that was still to come, however there seems to be lingering elements of his work with Duke Ellington and Johnny Hartman. The remastering of these recordings is stunning. There's clarity and spatial sense that was lost on previous releases of the album. Afro Blue Impressions showcases John Coltrane and his quartet at their most relaxed and in command.
- music label: Pablo Records 1977 / 2014
reviewed by Michu Meszaros 08/2014