TAS Super LP List! Special Merit: Informal
Michael Fremer Rated 10/11 Music, 10/11 Sonics!
TAS Rated 5/5 Music, 4.5/5 Sonics in the May/June 2022 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
With this 1964 album, John Coltrane firmly established himself as a most formative composer. The genius of John Coltrane literally rushes forth with his playing of these five compositions featuring McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones.
Seeking to offer definitive audiophile grade versions of some of the most historic and best jazz records ever recorded, Verve Label Group and Universal Music Enterprises' audiophile Acoustic Sounds vinyl reissue series utilizes the skills of top mastering engineers and the unsurpassed production craft of Quality Record Pressings. All titles are mastered from the original analog tapes, pressed on 180-gram vinyl and packaged by Stoughton Printing Co. in high-quality gatefold sleeves with tip-on jackets.
In the liner notes, a quote from Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka states John Coltrane was 'daringly human,' and no better example of this quality transferred to musical endeavor is available than on this definitive, must have album that encompasses all that he was and eventually would become.
The reissues of two classic John Coltrane albums released this month in new, sparkling vinyl editions by Acoustic Sounds are the blueprints for what would become the next major phases in the saxophonist's evolution. On the horizon following this early '60s period were the spiritual jazz of A Love Supreme and the explosive free jazz of Ascension. Elements of those progressions flow through these albums like a small stream that heralded a mighty river. On 1964's Crescent, Coltrane was pulling apart traditional jazz approaches to see what he could do away with and still make an impact. He doesn't solo at all on the second side of the LP to make way for bassist Jimmy Garrison's dazzling turn on 'Lonnie's Lament' and Elvin Jones' fireworks display on 'The Drum Thing.'
Ryan Smith has done a masterful job (no pun intended) with what again sounds like a master tape copy (unless the original tape has just lost some top end) at least based on a 'top end' comparison where on the original Coltrane's sax has greater 'presence' texture and air and Jones's drum kit more natural sizzle - as well as there being more 'room air' - but it's also easy to make a case for far better bass and piano presentation on the reissue. Rudy's original sounds as if he's rolled off the bottom and done a bit of compression. Overall if forced to choose one, I'm not sure I'd take the original over the new reissue, though I'm not selling the original (mine's a second label, red/black, but otherwise a first pressing). That's how good this is.
The Acoustic Sounds vinyl edition of the stereo recording stands out for its transparency, pinpointing the individual contributions of each band member and also capturing the synergy of an ensemble that, since its first performance in 1960, continued to reach new musical heights... Quite simply, the masters at work.
- Acoustic Sounds Series reissue from Verve/Universal Music Enterprises
- 180g Vinyl LP
- Mastered by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound From Original Analog Tapes
- Pressed at Quality Record Pressings
- Stoughton Printing gatefold old-style tip-on jacket
- Wise One
- Bessie's Blues
- Lonnie's Lament
- The Drum Thing