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John Coltrane: The Complete Sun Ship Session (3 LPs)(#3005)Mosaic Singles
"Sun Ship, recorded August 26, 1965, captures one of the last sessions by the Classic John Coltrane Quartet (Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones). It comes at the culmination of a year in which Coltrane arguably reached his creative peak, a year rich in such masterworks." - David Wild, liner notes
Limited Edition: 3500 copies
3 LPs (180 gram) - $90.00
Jazz is largely a collaborative art. Louis Armstrong with the Hot Fives, Basie with the All-American Rhythm Section, Davis with the Original Quintet with Coltrane and Philly Joe Jones-the music has been defined not just by the leader, but also by the caliber of the musicians in his group. For Coltrane the Classic Quartet was the foundation for masterpieces like Sun Ship that reshaped jazz of the sixties and seventies. "It's a funny thing", Tyner noted in a 1978 interview. "The John Coltrane Quartet was actually four elements. We had one guy who led the whole team, but it was really a compounding of personalities, like four personalities contributing."
The Classic Quartet mirrors Coltrane, whose deep roots in the mainstream of jazz supported branches reaching far above his contemporaries. They created a unique sound, an instantly recognizable approach that transcended their standard jazz "combo' format. They were capable of near-telepathic interaction and split-second reactions that freed the music to surpass the predictable. "With John we could come in, he would give us two notes and we could play a whole composition on two notes," Tyner recalled in that interview. "Sometimes he wouldn't bring in a tune, he'd bring in a scale, and we'd play the scale and everything would be right there. We were familiar with each other, the musicianship was high."
"When you're a part of something like that", Tyner went on, "you can't really ascertain how strong it is. We knew that we were doing something different, that it was fresh, timely. We knew that it had come from something that had happened before. At the same time, you're swept up in that force-you're not cognizant of how different it is. When something is good, timely, it has lasting quality." The strength of that force, the depth of that quality, is clearly evident in the Sun Ship session. And these last sessions offer fascinating documentation of the Classic Quartet evolving to keep pace with the growing changes in Coltrane's approach to the music. Only two more Quartet recordings would follow, First Meditations a week later and a single version of "Joy" from September 22.
..."Alternate takes", "previously unissued", "newly discovered"--these phrases are magic for jazz aficionados. Jazz prizes change, creativity and innovation. Its masters rarely play anything the same way twice, and alternate takes--complete or incomplete recordings from a recording session which were not initially selected for release-let us hear music we know well as if performed for the first time.
When the alternate takes belong to an artist of the stature of John Coltrane, the pleasure of rediscovery is that much greater. Nearly a half-century after his death Coltrane continues to influence and inspire jazz musicians and listeners alike. He changed the music like few before him (and perhaps no one since), yet his career was regrettably short-essentially a dozen years. While the output from that career is not inconsiderable, it is obviously finite, making such alternate takes that much more valuable.
Sun Ship, recorded August 26, 1965, captures one of the last sessions by the Classic John Coltrane Quartet (Coltrane, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones). It comes at the culmination of a year in which Coltrane arguably reached his creative peak, a year rich in such masterworks. The Sun Ship album, though, was not issued until 1971, one of several Coltrane albums issued by Impulse Records after his death. And Sun Ship was, like many jazz albums, the product of editing between takes, a process overseen by John's widow Alice.
This Complete Sun Ship Session edition is much more: sourced from newly discovered original reels, the set includes the album's five original compositions, unedited, in sequence of recording, with all of the takes as they evolved, as well as the surrounding conversations. More than just a sampling of a few alternate takes, the Complete Session offers a rare opportunity to eavesdrop on an iconic master at work. - David Wild, liner notes
John Coltrane's "Sun Ship" session was recorded at the RCA Recording studio on 24th Street by engineer Bob Simpson who also did superb work with Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus, Albert Ayler and others. The original three-track masters with the tenor sax on one track, the piano and bass on another and the drums on the third track were recently discovered, enabling the complete session to be released for the first time. Kevin Reeves recently remixed the entire session with great sonic results, improving greatly on the original LP mix. Mosaic has remastered them and pressed them on 180-gram vinyl at the renowned Record Technology Inc. plant in Camarillo, California.
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