What a gift to the world and jazz lovers, Coltrane apprecianados, and sax players. I am those things and a CT area music critic. At over 45 minutes, we have an intense workout from March, 1963 by the Quartet, including touchstone pieces Nature Boy and Impressions. Two are untitled, two are soprano sax, five are the familiar biting, slightly sharp, choppy tenor -- as the album's title suggests, there are two Coltranes heard here -- one still familiar -- melodic if impatient, the other searching, through alternate chords, drone like repetitions, and shriek harmonics. The first is called Untitled Original 11383 and is soprano following My Favorite Things changes. The quartet turns on immediately 'like some tremendous machine'. The solo could be spliced into his famous hit record and fit nicely. The head or melody is a throwaway that fortunately only returns once. Nature Boy is melody only --no solo--because 'Trane gets in every note of every chord during every rest. The song ends with a phrase or lick that became pivotal in his moving lament 'Alabama', recorded later that year. A lick is born, so to speak. Untitled Original 11386 is soprano; a very singable melody is repeated 11 times in the 8 minute piece, commented on by all. I picked up my sax and played the melody by ear and had a lot of fun with it. Vilia is lighter, an Artie Shaw clarinet tune -- but as Coltrane launches into his solo he gets stuck, repeating a phrase several times before taking off. Happens to everybody. Impressions is taken fast, its lightning runs sound like the Coltrane on the way to something different. Breathtaking in its scope and virtuosity -- his solo is woven through Garrison's bass and Jones' drums. It is hard to discern the half step rise to the bridge though -- too many notes. There are multiple takes on the deluxe edition. Slow Blues, at 11 minutes, is an avant-garde sermon, sometimes tortured, sometimes joyous -- using every sound his horn can make to testify -- its as if he is saying 'let go of that depressing mood'. Tasty piano solo by Tyner is a bonus. One up One Down, at last, is a cantering straight ahead piece for the whole band. If you have ever been to New York City, you would immediately identify with the atmosphere the Quartet creates on Both Directions At Once -- nowhere to rest, hectic, but an absolutely breathtaking testament to what man can achieve, especially this man Coltrane and crew.
Rather than being yet another addition to the 'every single note Coltrane ever played in the studio' catalog, this really works as a 'new' album and provides an excellent snapshot of the classic quartet's development. What an outstanding gift we've received here. I was initially a bit concerned about them being derived from personal play-back mono tapes (held all these years by Coltrane's first wife Naima's family) rather than masters, but considering the source, they sound surprisingly good. If for some reason you need a reminder of why Elvin Jones remains one of the greatest drummers ever, this album will serve the purpose. His playing is absolutely incredible here. What an incredible quartet. I can't recommend this enough.
Do note: there's is a 'Deluxe' version of this album which includes a second disc of alternate takes which currently is only $1.50 more. I didn't see this when I bought this.
John Coltrane and his world-renowned quartet are presented on this recently discovered, newly released recording. There's a lot of reviews floating around about this CD, and rightfully they are all good. Cause the music is top-shelf! Coltrane and the rest of the crew are in fine form and presents music that the average Coltrane lover in one way or another knows. Seven songs are presented on this CD, and all were recorded on March 6, 1963. There's the ever-ubiquitous version of Impressions, a pared-down version of Nature Boy, sans piano, two untitled originals, a slow blues (no melody is played), Vilia, and a never before recorded piece that we know from a few bootleg recordings, One up, one Down. For those that are curious, with this CD being recorded in early 1963, it was only the second studio session to feature the "classic Quartet," with the session that created "Both Directions at Once" coming after the album titled, "Coltrane." The next CD's that the Impulse label released was a succession of commercially driven album releases; Duke Ellington & John Coltrane, Ballads and John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman. All were released in 1963. Impulse also released "Impressions" in 1963. Why was this music not released at the time is anyone's guess, but I will venture to guess that it's possible that to Coltrane's ears it did not present something that he had already presented on record. And with that said, the music included on "Both Directions at Once" doesn't break new ground for Coltrane or the Quartet, but it IS something I believe that everyone that loves John Coltrane and the great quartet will want to hear. It's just that good. But why the four-star review? For me, it's because of the packaging. I received a jewel case, something that as of 2018 is outdated, takes up more space and pollutes the environment more than any other packaging. I would think Impulse would have put it in its classic cardboard book-like packaging. It appears that there are also quite a few complaints about the cheapness of the "Both Directions at Once" (Deluxe set) packaging. But, of course with the downloads, you won't have any complaints regarding packaging. Enjoy the music!
When I heard our favorite Jazzman had more songs recorded, and a new album would be coming out, I was so excited, I planned to surprise my hubby by having it play in the background over dinner, and have him go, "Wait...that's Coltrane...but I've never heard that cut..."
But I was so excited, I let the cat out of the bag. I've been listening all afternoon. So SWEET!!!
My husband plays sax/clarinet player in a big band. I have a feeling we will be buying these charts as soon as they are available, and playing these at our next gig. None of them are Coltrane, but they aren't bad. ;)
This album is an absolute MUST for any true jazz fan...which of course means you will love every note John Coltrane ever played.
Great playing by JCs best group. This you must have! The Trane sounds in great form here, and Elvin Jones does poly-rhythmic time keeping as fine as you’ll ever hear. McCoy is tasteful as usual and Jimmy Garrison keeps it all moving. A big thank you to those who found and put this out!
An extremely well presented and informative accompanying booklet just adds to this great presentation. My appreciation increased tremendously for what Mr. Coltrane and his group laid down thus moving jazz upward. An historic, must have recording.
I wasn't expecting much. It seems that record companies are always unearthing new "unheard" music from the jazz giants; however, in this case I was pleasantly surprised. This is an excellent addition to the Coltrane canon.