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

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Episode - Starlight Tales – I've been listening to Episode for quite a while and patiently awaiting this disc. They live in the Bay Area, so I see them around at shows, and have been asking them for the last year and a half...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues