John Coltrane

Complete Graz Concert

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John Coltrane was frequently recorded without authorization as he toured Europe during the 1960s; this two-CD set seems to come from a fairly decent audience tape of a 1962 concert in Graz, Austria; all songs are complete, unlike many earlier LP and CD issues, although the volume of the bass causes some distortion, and the piano is not as well recorded as one would like. Coltrane is, of course, accompanied by his classic quartet consisting of McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones. The repertoire is pretty much standard fare. An intense "Bye Bye Blackbird" features the leader on some adventurous tenor sax and has a long bass solo by Garrison, while "The Inchworm" has some blistering soprano sax and Elvin Jones' polyrhythms help fuel Coltrane's solo. Coltrane gives Tyner an opportunity for a long solo prior to his entrance on soprano in "Autumn Leaves," which is evidently the only commercially released version featuring the saxophonist playing this standard. The band is not recorded as well, and there is obvious tape wobble and dropouts in "Mr. P.C.," but distorted versions of "Impressions" and "My Favorite Things" close out the concert. If one can tune out the sound flaws this is a worthwhile investment, although the regular commercial releases of almost all of these songs are readily available and far superior to this release.

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