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Reviews: John Coltrane: Standard Coltrane

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Reviews: 5

Review by JW January 27, 2003 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Another home run from APO. Yes, I know they are 25 dollars (or 23 at Best Buy) but I think these guys deserve it, so there. What can you say about Coltrane? This discs contains 4 lesser known numbers, two ballads and two slightly uptempo tracks. All in all 34 minutes of beautifully played tenor sax music. It was an original Rudy van Gelder recording (July 1958), remastered for SACD by Doug Sax. Coltrane was labelled as an avant-garde artist, but that is a sentiment you can only understand in the context and time it was made. With 2002 ears there is little 'avant-garde' - in the modern sense of the word - on this disc. Tracks 1 and 4 are beautifully constructed ballads. Eric Clapton once said in an interview that when performing a solo he does not play the guitar, but he was 'talking' through his instrument. Whenever I listen to these songs I feel that Coltrane is also talking. And did I mention Paul Chambers' bass playing. What a great bass line! On the first track he is nudging the rest of the tune along without sounding strained or tense, but it's driving, almost anticipating the next section and laying the fundamentals in advance. Great stuff. And the bass is recorded solidly. You can loose yourself in this music. The sound is of high quality (something I find consistent in APO's releases of which I have 12), but you have to crank up the volume because this one was recorded at lower levels than normal.

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Review by madisonears October 12, 2003 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I seriously doubt that you could make this old recording sound any better than it does on this SACD. Not to say there's anything wrong with the sound--it isn't modern by any means, but it is very good for its age. Recording techniques were not very sophisticated in those days, but sometimes their simplicity allowed for better overall sound characteristics than the massive amounts of noodling done on current recordings. The instruments all sound perfectly natural, with lots of tonal and spatial information readily apparent. Perfect extension of the highs, with no glare whatsoever.

The music is superb jazz: maybe not Coltrane at his most innovative, but still on a higher plane than most of his contemporaries, and the backing is classic. One of the sidemen is the incomparable Wilbur Harden, who made only a handful of high quality recordings and then pretty much disappeared.

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Review by stvnharr April 25, 2004 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Not much to add to the other two reviews. This is just a really nice piece of music, and a nice job on the disc by Analogue Productions. At 34 minutes it is rather poor value for the price, however it's just as enjoyable if played again a second time. Although I must say it would have been nicer if another one of the other OJC recordings had been put on the disc to make it a better value.
Still it's some of the nicest 34 minutes of jazz you can have in your collection. As the other reviewer wrote, this is not the innovative, avant garde, or even the sheets of sounds Coltrane, this is just bit back and relax music, played by a group of very fine musicians.

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Review by DeSelby May 22, 2005 (2 of 9 found this review helpful)
very good old sound

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Review by dunrobinbill June 3, 2010 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Having followed the music and life of John Coltrane these last 49 years, this particular disk of standards has always appealed to me. In fact, this version of the Bronislau Kaper classic "Invitation" is so much my favourite performance, I use it on my radio show "Approaching Standards" as my signature opening theme. While I can't quibble with the view that the performance is near legendary, the sonics of this Analogue Productions disc leave much much to be desired. Previous CD versions had a slight overemphasis of the bass in the initial verse. This is even worse on the AP SACD version. Not only is there overemphasis, but the bass notes sound hard, and serve to distract from the melody statement and solo. Most importantly, I found the presence of Coltrane's lovely tenor diminished. It seems less articulate, with less breath and less attack, more burried in the mix, than any other version I have heard. For some reason the folks at AP have also lowered the gain and it was necessary to crank up the volume substantially. For one of my favourite performances in the legacy of Coltrane I'm left with a sense of disappointment. I have so many splendid AP SACDs I'm perplexed to understand their remastering in this case.

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