The year 1965 was a turning point in the life of John Coltrane. It was at this point that he crossed the line into the free jazz arena that he had been approaching since the early '60s. Besides his landmark Ascension, no album better illustrates this than the awe-inspiring Meditations. Coltrane's regular quartet -- McCoy Tyner (piano), Jimmy Garrison (bass), and Elvin Jones (drums) -- is expanded here with second drummer Rashied Ali (who assumed Jones' spot after this album) and saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. This conglomeration produces some dense textures, especially in the epic first track "The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost." This sonic hurricane is a 13-minute outpouring of spiritual emotion that is at once compelling and exhausting. Elsewhere, the group delicately follows Coltrane's lead on the passionate "Love" and swings with abandon on the raucous "Consequences" as Sanders and 'Trane battle like warriors above the churning rhythm section. Finally, the aptly titled "Serenity" is a swirling free-form improvisation gently touching back down to earth after an adventurous ride through the heavens.
by Rovi Staff