Avant-garde jazz album from John Coltrane. Ascension was originally recorded in 1965 at Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. It is considered by many a watershed album in Coltrane's career, marking the moment he moved away from records that were more conventional in structure towards looser, free jazz inspired works. Coltrane has called it a "big band thing," but the album does not resemble any big band that came before it. He assembled a band that included the rhythm section of pianist McCoy Tyner, double bassists Jimmy Garrison and Art Davis, and drummer Elvin Jones, along with a heavily expanded horn section. Recorded with three tenors (Trane, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp), two altos (Marion Brown, John Tchicai), and two trumpet players (Freddie Hubbard, Dewey Johnson), the ensemble is relentless, yet soulful. They move through discordant free expressions as a group which gradually fall away into individual solo sections. The sheer weight of the record may catch the casual listener off guard, but Ascension was an important moment in Coltrane's career. One that would place him firmly into the avant-garde.
- music label: Impulse! 1965 / 2015
reviewed by Cool Hand 02/2016