Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch”series, where wefind out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!
Jazz Legend John Coltrane
Few dispute that John Coltrane was the greatest jazz saxophonist that the world has seen. He was known for his lush tone and masterful control of the upper register. His incredible coordination allowed him to play the tones of chords in such rapid succession that they were referred to as “Coltrane’s sheets of sound.” Coltrane was innovative in his use of improvisation and arrhythmic music. There was no doubt that his childhood in High Point allowed his creative spirit to thrive.
John Coltrane was born in Hamlet, North Carolina, on September 23, 1926. His family moved to High Point when he was only 3 months old. Coltrane spent the first 17 years of his life in High Point at 118 Underhill Street. While at William Penn High School, he began playing the saxophone.
Coltrane moved to Philadelphia in 1943, where he studied music and made his professional debut. He moved from band to band, appearing with jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic, and Thelonious Monk.
Although he gained recognition while playing with Miles Davis from 1955 to 1960, Coltrane quickly developed a devoted following when he formed his own quartet in 1960. Named “Jazzman of the Year” in 1965 by local and international critics, John Coltrane was just reaching his prime when he died July 17, 1967, at age 40, in Huntington, New York.
INTRODUCING CRAFT RECORDINGS’ “SMALL BATCH”:AN ALL-ANALOG LIMITED EDITION, ONE-STEP VINYL SERIESOFFERING THE HIGHEST QUALITY LISTENING EXPERIENCE JOHN COLTRANE’S LUSH LIFE TO LAUNCH COLLECTION—AVAILABLE NOW TO PRE-ORDER AND DUE OUT FEBRUARY 19thEXCLUSIVELY THROUGH CRAFTRECORDINGS.COM
Los Angeles, CA (January 14, 2021)—Craft Recordings is thrilled to announce their Small Batch series—a carefully curated audiophile collectiondevoted to creating the highest quality vinyl reissues of legendary recordings from their vast catalog. Each album selected for the series will undergo all-analog mastering, and then be pressed on 180-gram vinyl in a one-step lacquer process—as opposed to the standard three-step process—allowing for the highest level of musical detail, clarity, and dynamics while reducing the amount of surface noise on the record. The limited nature of these pressings guarantees that each record is a true representation of the original lacquer and is as close as the listener can get to the original recording. Authentic sound, distilled to its purest form. Each Small Batch pressing, available exclusively on CraftRecordings.com, will be individually numbered and housed in a foil-stamped, linen-wrapped slipcase featuring an acrylic inset of the original artwork. The vinyl disc—extractable through a unique frictionless ribbon pull tab—will be housed in a reproduction of the original album jacket, complete with tip-on jacket, and protected by an archival-quality, anti-static, non-scratching inner sleeve. New liner notes from some of music’s best educators, historians, and journalists will accompany each title. Launching the Small Batch series will be John Coltrane’s iconic 1961 album, Lush Life—celebrating its 60th anniversary this year—available on February 19thand limited to 1,000 copies worldwide. For this reissue, the original analog tapes—recorded at Rudy Van Gelder’sHackensack, NJ studios—were sent to GRAMMY®-Award winning mastering engineer Bernie Grundman, who utilized a custom tube pre-amp and analog mixing console with discrete electronics—both made in-house—as well as a Scully solid-state lathe with custom electronics. “When it comes to jazz, all you want to do is present the music in a good way. No gimmicks. No extra compression. Just the pure instruments,” explains Grundman. “We’re taking these old tapes and playing them off of equipment that’s similar to what they were recorded on. We want to preserve the sound as much as we can. My goal is to do all of this by hand as it’s playing. It takes a lot of preparation. It takes choreographing.” In the end, Grundman says, “It’s all about trying to optimize the experience for the listener.” Grundman’s lacquers were then sent to Record Technology Incorporated (RTI) for plating using the plant’s one-step process, as described above, where the lacquers are used to create a “convert” that becomes the record stamper. Utilizing Neotech’s VR900 compound, Lush Life was then pressed on to 180-gram vinyl. Preview the full package via the unboxing trailer, here. Recorded in three sessions over 1957 and 1958, Lush Life finds Coltrane on the verge of a career breakout. Though he was still a few years away from emerging as an influential and boundary-pushing bandleader, the saxophonist’s mature and complex sound was beginning to grab ears and sell records. Here, he’s accompanied by an all-star lineup of talent, including Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, Donald Byrd on trumpet, and Art Taylor on drums. The tracklist, comprised of standards and popular tunes of the day, offers a wide range of moods. Highlights include Cole Porter’s “I Love You,” the Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke hit “Like Someone in Love,” and one original—“Trane’s Slo Blues.” In the package’s new liner notes, GRAMMY® Award-winning writer Ashley Kahn points out that the Billy Strayhorn-penned title track—now a jazz standard—was an unusual choice at the time. In the late ‘50s, “Lush Life” was “more of a specialty tune…known primarily by a coterie of jazz players and dedicated fans.” Kahn adds, “One could not with any confidence call it a jam session, hoping that all the players would know the changes and the singer would have a handle on the lyric. Its harmony was complex and unusual, and it did not fit the 32-bar structure most songs followed…How bold it must have been for a John Coltrane album to not only bear the title of Strayhorn’s off-center song, but feature a fourteen-minute interpretation as its centerpiece. This is truly a band version of ‘Lush Life’—arguably the first—that builds steadily in intensity and offers a variety of textures through its free-wheeling duration.” Upon its release, Lush Life was a critical and commercial success, garnering a rare five-star review from Downbeat. The album continues to be counted as a standout recording in Coltrane’s all-too-short career. In recent years, AllMusic listed Lush Life “among John Coltrane’s best endeavors on the Prestige label,” while All About Jazz praised that “the record documents Coltrane’s rapid growth over a short period of time while also showcasing how great a talent Coltrane was, even at this early stage.” In his notes, Kahn affirms that the recording “serves to capture the already expansive nature of Coltrane’s approach in late ’57 and early ’58: the love of melody and that melancholy, searching spirit. The restless embellishing, and those sheets of sound just as they began to unfurl.” Subscribe at CraftRecordings.com for news first on future Small Batch pressings. For more information and to pre-order Lush Life, visit CraftRecordings.com/SmallBatch.
Tracklist – Lush Life: Side A:1. Like Someone in Love2. I Love You3. Trane’s Slo Blues Side B:1. Lush Life2. I Hear a Rhapsody
About Craft Recordings:Craft Recordings is home to one of the largest and most prestigious collections of master recordings and compositions in the world. Its rich and storied repertoire includes legendary artists such as Joan Baez, Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Vince Guaraldi, John Lee Hooker, Little Richard, Nine Inch Nails, Thelonious Monk, Otis Redding, R.E.M. and Traveling Wilburys, to name just a few. Renowned imprints with catalogs issued under the Craft banner include Concord, Fania, Fantasy, Fearless, Milestone, Musart, Nitro, Prestige, Riverside, Rounder, Specialty, Stax, Sugar Hill, Vanguard, Vee-Jay and Victory, among many others. Craft creates thoughtfully curated packages, with a meticulous devotion to quality and a commitment to preservation—ensuring that these recordings endure for new generations to discover. Craft Recordings is the catalog label team for Concord Recorded Music. For more info, visit CraftRecordings.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,YouTube, and Spotify.
One of the most influential and gifted sax players in history, John Coltrane, released Giant Steps (1960) not long after completing recording Kind Of Blue with Miles Davis.
Coltrane’s playing on these landmark jazz records was revolutionary at the time and legendary for all time. His tone was a thing of beauty and his choices of chord patterns to solo over were soon known as Coltrane changes.
Even his melodic phrasing earned the colorful title of “sheets of sound.”
When I’m in the mood for pure jazz, the two artists I invariably go to are Miles and Coltrane, the twin towers of excellence.