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John Coltrane - Traneing In Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 March 2007
format:    16-bit CD
performance:    6
sound:    7
release year:    2007
label:    Prestige/Concord
reviewed by:    Scott Yanow

Image1957 was one of the most important years in the musical career of John Coltrane. Born in 1926, Coltrane was originally a journeyman alto-saxophonist based in Philadelphia who was influenced by Charlie Parker. It took him a relatively long period of time to find his own sound. He switched to tenor-sax during his unrecorded stint with altoist Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s band and seemed to get his big break in 1949 when he joined the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra. But although Coltrane continued with Gillespie when the trumpeter cut back to a sextet the following year, that association ultimately went nowhere, as did a stint with Johnny Hodges’ combo.

It was not until Miles Davis took a chance in 1955 and hired Coltrane for his quintet that the 29-year old tenor-saxophonist began to become known. Having a sound on tenor that was formerly based on Dexter Gordon, Coltrane evolved quickly during ‘55-‘56, developing from a soloist who was somewhat awkward into a brilliant virtuoso whose “sheets of sound” approach found him playing clusters of notes without sacrificing his increasingly individual sound. In 1957, Coltrane was fired from the Miles Davis Quintet due to his unreliability caused by his heroin addiction. A short time later, he permanently quit drugs cold turkey and became a member of Thelonious Monk’s Quartet for six months. During that time period he learned a great deal, recorded many jam session-style records and became a major force in jazz. By the time he rejoined Miles Davis in 1958, he was a giant and was ready to lead the jazz world during the nine years he had left.

Traneing In was recorded Aug. 23, 1957. Coltrane is matched with pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Taylor, which was essentially the Prestige label’s house rhythm section of the time. Earlier, Coltrane had played regularly with Garland and Chambers since they were all members of Miles Davis’ group, and now he was joined by the same Prestige trio on eight recording dates during 1956-58. Garland’s individual chord voicings, Chambers’ drive and bowed bass solos, and Taylor’s solid timekeeping formed a perfect foundation behind ‘Trane.

This CD is a straight reissue of the original LP, so it is a bit brief. The program consists of two ballads (“You Leave Me Breathless” and “Slow Dance”), “Bass Blues,” the blues-with-a-bridge “Traneing In” and an uptempo version of “Soft Lights and Sweet Music” that is so passionate and intense that it makes its title seem quite ironic.

A solid session, Traneing In does not reach the heights nor contain the magic of John Coltrane’s most significant albums of the period (such as Blue Train, Soultrane, Coltrane,
Lush Life, and Black Pearls), but it is a fine hard bop outing that features the saxophonist pushing himself and being swung by his sidemen.

Traneing In has been reissued as part of the RVG series, which is remastered by the legendary Rudy Van Gelder. Truth be told, while the new reissue of Traneing In is slightly clearer in spots, the difference between this and the previous CD version is minimal and not a reason for one to re-buy the album.

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