John Coltrane

Introducing John Coltrane

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While it's painfully obvious that John Coltrane needs no introduction at all to almost anyone, WEA International still needs to shovel out compilations and so we get this: a completely half-hearted attempt at a representative view of Coltrane's brilliant Atlantic years that misses some of his most important tunes in favor of placing enough cuts to make it seem like listeners are getting plenty -- they're not. To include merely the opening theme of Coltrane's genre-setting interpretation of "My Favorite Things" and call it "Pt. 1" is an insult. It's not part one, and it is barely the theme clocking in at under three minutes. Also missing from this collection is the dynamite, truly awe-inspiring "Olé," perhaps the finest moment of his artistry from those years after "My Favorite Things." What is here is quite good -- with the aforementioned exception -- including original versions of "Mr. P.C.," "Equinox," "Naima," "Aisha," etc. The problem is, it leans a little too hard on the ballads and not enough on the uptempo fusion of hard bop and modal music Coltrane was creating as a new model. There are better collections out there; seek one out.

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