While John Coltrane first gained attention for his revolutionary 'sheets of sound' technique, it was the deep spirituality of his music that really made his recordings as a bandleader such classics. The albums Coltrane recorded for Atlantic in 1959 and 1960 represent the heart of his unparalleled legacy. The John Coltrane: The Atlantic Years In Mono box set gave fans a glimpse into how Coltrane's music first appeared to dedicated listeners through the '60s. Now the remastered mono editions of the sets' Giant Steps (1960), Bags & Trane (1961), Ole Coltrane (1962), Coltrane Plays The Blues (1962) and The Avant Garde (1966) will be available individually.
When these recordings first made it to the retail shelves, a majority of consumers were taking the discs home and listening to them on equipment that played the music monaurally. Commercial stereo releases first began to appear in 1958 - meaning that all of Coltrane's Atlantic recordings were released simultaneously in both mono and stereo formats. By '68 the label began to phase out mono releases altogether. Musical preferences are always subjective, yet the value of John Coltrane's mono recordings far exceed musical nostalgia; they offer historical validity, the same aural experience that greeted fans when these albums were first released.
Trane''s final album for Atlantic bookends the exploratory motifs he explored on his Impulse! debut, Africa/Brass, recorded concurrently, with each involving knotty rhythmic shifts and Spanish-derived textures. Bonding with an amazing band that includes pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, and an uncredited Eric Dolphy (due to contractual reasons), Coltrane welcomes improvisations and ranging outside conventional parameters, all the while retaining melodic beauty. Yet the biggest attraction on the 1961 effort comes via the double-bass interplay between Art Davis and Reggie Workman, whose back-and-forth exchanges produce heat and cause the leader to up his own game.
John Coltrane, soprano saxophone
Art Davis / Reggie Workman, bass
Elvin Jones, drums
McCoy Tyner, piano
Freddie Hubbard, trumpet
Eric Dolphy, alto saxophone & flute