Dakar (2016 Remaster) John Coltrane Quartet
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- 2Mary's Blues06:48
- 3Route 406:57
- 4Velvet Scene04:54
- 5Witches Pit06:43
- 6Cat Walk07:12
Info for Dakar (2016 Remaster)
A Coltrane album? No, a Pepper Adams album, Pepper as leader, rebranded as a Coltrane album to capitalise on his rising fame in the early Sixties. What is distinctive about this album is double baritone sax. Pepper Adams and Cecil Payne, in addition to Coltrane. No difficulty in telling the two apart: Payne is smooth and polished, Adams is fiery, energetic. Coltrane is the young Coltrane of 1957, a year after departing Miles Davis,and his first record as leader, Coltrane, which featured another baritone – Sahib Shihab. A good year for the bari, 1957.
Dakar is the capital of Senegal, on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic west coast of Africa. Perhaps its name filled the bill of a suitably exotic title, as there doesn’t seem any obvious connection.
„Dakar (1957) presents half-a-dozen numbers recorded April 20, 1957 by an ensemble credited as the 'Prestige All-Stars.' On the bandstand for this date are John Coltrane (tenor sax), Cecil Payne (baritone sax), Pepper Adams (baritone sax), Mal Waldron (piano), Doug Watkins (bass), and Art Taylor (drums). Although at the time these were considered 'leaderless' units, upon hearing the interaction of the participants, modern ears might desire to qualify that statement.
The Latin-flavored title track 'Dakar' finds Coltrane adapting his solo to faultlessly conform to Payne and Adams' comparatively fuller-bodied involvement. The brooding chord progressions take on dark overtones with Coltrane joining Waldron as they burst forth fuelled by the soulful brass section. 'Mary's Blues' is a treat for sax lovers as Adams -- who penned the number -- almost immediately raises the musical stakes for Coltrane. The differences in their respective presentations offer a contrast that complements the cool refinement of Adams and Pepper when juxtaposed with Coltrane's frenetic flurries. Particularly engaging are the sequence of four-bar blasts from the horn players, just prior to Coltrane pushing the combo through their paces. On 'Route Four' the strongest elements of each player surface, creating one of the platter's brightest moments. Right out of the box, Waldron unleashes line upon line of masterful lyricism. The driving tempo keeps the instrumentalists on their toes as Coltrane is sandwiched between the undeniably and equally inspired Payne and Adams. Here, the urgency of Coltrane's tenor sax clearly tests the boundaries of the Taylor/Watkins rhythm section. The moody and sublime ballad 'Velvet Scene' is a Waldron composition containing some of the author's strongest individual involvement as he interjects his expressive keyboarding directly into the melody. If the album is flawed, that may well be due to Coltrane's inability to deliver during 'Witches' Pit.' Perhaps because he is the first soloist, there seems to be no immediate direction to his playing. In a highly unusual move, he simply trails off rather than concluding his portion with his usual command and authority. 'Cat Walk' restores Coltrane's sinuous leads during a couple of jaunty double-time excursions that tread gingerly around the catchy tune. Jazz enthusiasts -- especially lovers of Thelonious Monk -- should easily be able to discern Adams' nod to ''Round Midnight.' (Lindsay Planer, AMG)
John Coltrane, tenor saxophone
Cecil Payne, baritone saxophone
Pepper Adams, baritone saxophone
Mal Waldron, piano
Doug Watkins, bass
Art Taylor, drums
Recorded April 20, 1957 at Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack
Produced by Teddy Charles
Born September 23, 1926 in Hamlet, North Carolina, John Coltrane was always surrounded by music. His father played several instruments sparking Coltrane’s study of E-flat horn and clarinet. While in high school, Coltrane’s musical influences shifted to the likes of Lester Young and Johnny Hodges prompting him to switch to alto saxophone. He continued his musical training in Philadelphia at Granoff Studios and the Ornstein School of Music. He was called to military service during WWII, where he performed in the U.S. Navy Band in Hawaii.
After the war, Coltrane began playing tenor saxophone with the Eddie 'CleanHead' Vinson Band, and was later quoted as saying, 'A wider area of listening opened up for me. There were many things that people like Hawk, and Ben and Tab Smith were doing in the ‘40’s that I didn’t understand, but that I felt emotionally.' Prior to joining the Dizzy Gillespie band, Coltrane performed with Jimmy Heath where his passion for experimentation began to take shape. However, it was his work with the Miles Davis Quintet in 1958 that would lead to his own musical evolution. ' Miles music gave me plenty of freedom,' he once said. During that period, he became known for using the three-on-one chord approach, and what has been called the ‘sheets of sound,’ a method of playing multiple notes at one time.
By 1960 Coltrane had formed his own quartet which included pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, and bassist Jimmy Garrison. Eventually adding players like Eric Dolphy, and Pharoah Sanders. The John Coltrane Quartet created some of the most innovative and expressive music in Jazz history including the hit albums: 'My Favorite Things,' 'Africa Brass,' ' Impressions,' ' Giant Steps,' and his monumental work 'A Love Supreme' which attests to the power, glory, love, and greatness of God. Coltrane felt we must all make a conscious effort to effect positive change in the world, and that his music was an instrument to create positive thought patterns in the minds of people.
In 1967, liver disease took Coltrane’s life leaving many to wonder what might have been. Yet decades after his departure his music can be heard in motion pictures, on television and radio. Recent film projects that have made references to Coltrane’s artistry in dialogue or musical compositions include, 'Mr. Holland’s Opus', 'The General’s Daughter', 'Malcolm X', 'Mo Better Blues', 'Jerry McGuire', 'White Night', 'The Last Graduation', 'Come Unto Thee', 'Eyes On The Prize II' and 'Four Little Girls'. Also, popular television series such as 'NYPD Blue', 'The Cosby Show', 'Day’s Of Our Lives', 'Crime Stories' and 'ER', have also relied on the beautiful melodies of this distinguished saxophonist.
In 1972, 'A Love Supreme' was certified gold by the RIAA for exceeding 500,000 units in Japan. This jazz classic and the classic album 'My Favorite Things' were certified gold in the United States in 2001.
In 1982, the RIAA posthumously awarded John Coltrane a Grammy Award of ' Best Jazz Solo Performance' for the work on his album, 'Bye Bye Blackbird'. In 1997 he received the organizations highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award.
On June 18, 1993 Mrs. Alice Coltrane received an invitation to The White House from former President and Mrs. Clinton, in appreciation of John Coltrane’s historical appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival.
In 1995, John Coltrane was honored by the United States Postal Service with a commemorative postage stamp. Issued as part of the musicians and composers series, this collectors item remains in circulation.
In 1999, Universal Studios and its recording division MCA Records recognized John Coltrane’s influence on cinema by naming a street on the Universal Studios lot in his honor.
In 2001, The NEA and the RIAA released 360 songs of the Century . Among them was John Coltrane’s 'My Favorite Things.' (Source: www.johncoltrane.com)