Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Jazz | Pint | One Down One Up

North End Brewery Waikanae
I'll happily admit that John Coltrane isn't my favourite saxophone player. Unless I'm looking at something specific, I need to pick the right moment to kick back and dig it. And tonight was the night, with One Down, One Up - Live at the Half Note taking care of the Coltrane fix. It's not really music that I strive to emulate, but I get why people love it so much. Intensity is the first word that comes mind. An outward intensity. Maybe if I binged on it and really spent time working it, some of that may bleed into my playing. Who knows. It's not really where I am at the moment, but you never know.

The hook up with Elvin Jones is something else, and there are long periods of Trane and Elvin in duo. The only downside to this is the lack of Jimmy Garrison! (never fear, he's always present during McCoy Tyner's solos). The more I listen to him, the more I enjoy his playing. Is he underrated? Underappreciated? Maybe - I don't know. Not in my book. In the accompanying notes (he barely gets a mention!) there's a great photo of him on the bandstand at the Half Note. The lucky few in the front row could have reached out and touched his bass. I can only image being so close to that sound and feeling. Physically that would have been an interesting experience.

Usually when I tune it to Coltrane I'm focused on his soprano work. And considering it's a live recording, his soprano tone is pretty well captured here. I know a lot of people rave about My Favorite Things, but I prefer his soprano from a bit later on. One Down, One Up is a fine example (on "Afro Blue" and "My Favorite Things") as is The John Coltrane Quartet Plays (check out "Chim Chim Cheree"). Both were recorded in 1965, once he'd spent more time on the straight horn.

So my spur of the moment pick worked out well tonight, and two discs of live Trane made for a nice Christmas Eve Eve. In the words of Alan Grant, the announcer on these broadcasts, "Stay beautiful".

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