“This is like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid” - Sonny Rollins
When the announcement of an unearthed lost John Coltrane album broke in the TTL newsroom, my first thought was “shit, I bet it’s some post-Meditations second quartet shit ” - not that that wouldn’t be a total blessing; it’s just that I’m still trying to work my way through his output with Alice, Pharoah and Rashied and wrap my head around it. But imagine my delight to learn that the album in question was recorded on March 6, 1963 with Trane’s classic quartet (McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones), yup the same bulletproof group that put down Ascension, Ballads, Coltrane and of course, A Love Supreme. Six months after Ballads and Duke Ellington & John Coltrane, the quartet booked the day at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in New Jersey with Bob Thiele, just two days after Tyner recorded his Nights Of Ballads And Blues LP, and one day before the John Coltrane And Johnny Hartman album, all recorded in the same room. We're not sure why the material found on Both Directions At Once wasn't packaged and released as an album in its day, but the session's master tape was ultimately destroyed years later to cut down on Impulse Records’ storage space (yes, really). Luckily, Trane himself was given a spare copy, which has quietly remained in the possession of his first wife Naima’s family, until now. On “Untitled Original 11383,” you can hear Trane chipping away at something new, hinting at the greatness later achieved on A Love Supreme. Says Coltrane’s son Ravi, who helped prepare the release: “In 1963, all these musicians are reaching some of the heights of their musical powers. On this record, you do get a sense of John with one foot in the past and one foot headed toward his future.” Includes a stunning recording of “Impressions,” which was untitled at the time of this session and later became a jazz standard after a live recording on the album of the same name. Also includes an updated version of “Slow Blues” (previously recorded for the Lush Life album) and other Trane favorites which were later released on live albums: “One Up, One Down,” “Vilia” and Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy.” This is the standard vinyl version with black & white photo cover. Recommended!
- single black vinyl pressing
- black & white photo cover variant
- printed inner sleeve
- music label: Impulse! 2018
reviewed by nick nightingale 06/2018