In 1958, John Coltrane had yet to take the modal post-bop plunge. He was still a hard bopper, although his "sheets of sound" solos were certainly among the most interesting, creative, and distinctive that bop had to offer in the late '50s. Stardust contains some highlights of two bop-oriented Coltrane dates from 1958: one is a July 11 session with trumpeter/flügelhornist Wilbur Harden, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb; the other is a December 26 session with Garland, Chambers, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, and drummer Art Taylor. At both sessions, Coltrane's playing is quite engaging. He is a lyrical, expressive ballad player on "Then I'll Be Tired of You," "Stardust," and "Time After Time," but he swings fast and aggressively on "Love Thy Neighbor" (the only track on this 39-minute program that isn't a ballad). At both sessions, Coltrane is well served by Garland's piano and Chambers' bass. When Coltrane was playing alongside those jazzmen in Miles Davis' 1955-1957 quintet, he enjoyed a strong rapport with both of them -- and that rapport wasn't any weaker in 1958. It is no coincidence that Prestige's A&R department united Coltrane with Garland and Chambers so often; Prestige knew how compatible all of them were. Although not quite essential, Stardust paints a consistently attractive picture of Coltrane's 1958 output.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson