Rova

John Coltrane's Ascension

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In 1965, John Coltrane led a famous screamfest, a nearly 40-minute jam called "Ascension" which was essentially a free improvisation (except for a loose melody and some frameworks that were played at spontaneous moments); the performances had wild free-form solos that were divided by even more intense group improvising. This 1995 live recording is not so much a recreation as much as a re-investigation of the original concept. The members of the avant-garde saxophone quartet Rova (altoists Jon Raskin and Steve Adams, tenors Larry Ochs and Bruce Ackley) are joined by Glenn Spearman also on tenor, trumpeters Dave Douglas and Raphe Malik, pianist Chris Brown, bassists George Cremaschi and Lisle Ellis, and drummer Donald Robinson. The CD opens with a seven-minute version of John Coltrane's "Welcome" featuring Larry Ochs with the rhythm section, but unfortunately Ochs does not have 'Trane's warmth in his playing. The new "Ascension," which is one second short of 50 minutes long, follows the original's format. Of the solos, Spearman and Malik have the most creative statements, although all seven horn players (plus the rhythm section) make the most of their individual spots. But it is the raging ensembles that are most memorable. Don't look for any mellow moments on this date.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 7:39 Spotify
2 50:24 Spotify
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