Exposé Online banner

John Coltrane — The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings
(Impulse IMPD4-232, 1961/1997, 4CD)

John Coltrane — The Other Village Vanguard Tapes
(Impulse MCD0413, 1961/1987, 2CD)

John Coltrane — The Mastery of John Coltrane Vol. IV - Trane's Modes
(Impulse 254 650-2, 1961/1987, 2CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 2017-06-15

The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings Cover artThe Other Village Vanguard Tapes Cover artThe Mastery of John Coltrane Vol. IV - Trane's Modes Cover art

Going to knock off three with one go here. So I think the first Coltrane I heard that grabbed my attention was the double LP The Other Village Vanguard Tapes, and then of course from there my interest in the great sax player severely waxed. I've covered some of what I think are the great live stints, including those by the Grateful Dead, Miles Davis, and Cream, and probably other artists I'm forgetting, but definitely on that list is this series of shows from 1961. If Coltrane arrived as a journeyman with Miles, and reached classic status with A Love Supreme, I think this is where he arrived as a solo artist (arguably you could say that with Giant Steps too), although not only should a lot of the credit go to his back up band but the inclusion of Eric Dolphy as well. It's interesting because I don't rate the original three-song album (1962's "Live" at the Village Vanguard) quite so highly, maybe because it's not really as lengthy a selection of the goodness found on the subsequent releases, but I also tend to prefer the band playing all together and occasionally at the Village Vanguard Tyner would step out and let the trio go.

When they finally released the entire box set, I got it as a gift for Christmas and listening to it still brings me back to that time where I played almost nothing except this set for a few weeks. Coltrane and the band touch on a lot of various styles here, but most importantly all of the sets had the youth and vigor of the very best jazz, and both sax players were flamethrowers at times, but then also Coltrane could get relaxed and he always did such a great version of "Greensleeves," which also cements that Christmas listen session for me. I'm also a huge fan of the way they incorporate Eastern music along with the jazz in certain spots.

I include Trane's Modes on here as well as it has more of the then outtakes from the Village Vanguard along with some other sessions, so really no matter how you divide everything they're all classics of jazz.


Filed under: Reissues, 1997 releases, 1961 recordings, 1987 releases

Related artist(s): John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Julian Priester, Eric Dolphy

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Dragonwyck - Dragonwyck – In case you're wondering, Dragonwyck is the title of a 1944 historical romance by Anya Seton, made into a movie starring Gene Tierney and Vincent Price. This Dragonwyck, on the other hand, was a psych...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues