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REVIEW: BOTH DIRECTIONS AT ONCE: THE LOST ALBUM by LARRY RENI THOMAS
(Published: August 09, 2018)



For those of us who love anything and everything by the supreme reedman, the immortal John Coltrane, the master of the saxophone, are all smiles after we listen to "Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album" (2018 Impulse Records), his soulful, swinging, highly-pleasing-to-the-ear, latest offering to the music world. According to the well-written, informative liner notes, written by Ashley Kahn, author of "The House That Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records," (2006, W.W. Norton), this March 1963 recording consist of previously unreleased music. John Coltrane requested copies of all of his recordings and kept them at home. Prior to his death in 1967, John gave this masterpiece to his first wife Naima. Years after her passing, her family found it, contacted the proper people who produced and released this "lost" musical delight 55 years after it was recorded.

"The Lost Album" features John Coltrane, on soprano and tenor saxophone, McCoy Tyner, piano, Jimmy Garrison, bass and Elvin Jones, drums, "The Classic Quartet," also known to some folks as "The Cadillac Quartet," because it moved and swung so smoothly. Needless to say, this session was superb, almost flawless and should have been released a long time ago. Why it took so long is for the critics, the scholars and the academics to debate. Those of us who love Trane and his righteous soulful sound, are hoping that there is another tape or two or three to be found. His son, reedman Ravi Coltrane wrote in the liner notes that "it was a kicking the tires kind of session." Well, if that was the case, then, we are ready and willing to be kicked!

The album is made up of seven selections, five originals and two standards ("Nature Boy" and "Vilia"). There are two outstanding original tunes that don't have titles. The first selection, "Untitled Original 11383" starts the album on a sizzling note with John on soprano saxophone and Elvin sticking and staying in the groove, in the pocket while dropping nice bombs along the way. It served as a perfect way to introduce this fine recording and it showed right away that this session was well worth the wait. The group, without McCoy Tyner on piano, also sounded very hip on Trane's "Impressions,' whose only problem is that it was not long enough. It's only four minutes and 30 seconds (4:30) long, much too short for such a powerful tune.

Strangely enough, there are no ballads on the "lost" album. The closest cut to it, is "Nature Boy,' which features John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, blowing with a big fat tasty tone. This one is probably the second best tune on the album. It too is not quite long enough. The best selection on the recording has to be "One Up, One Down." It swings mightily and is long enough (7:58) to allow Trane to smoke on the saxophone. The rest of the "Cadillac" sounded fantastic, too, with pianist McCoy Tyner digging in nicely with a solo that can only be described as "the fire next time!"

All in all, the "Lost Album" doesn't sound too lost after all. It sounds like it was recorded yesterday and like what American Classical Music, commonly called "jazz," the most sosphticated music, in the world, should and does sound like-the music of the future! Most importantly, it proves that this music is not dead, not just for "old folks," is timeless, swinging straight ahead and is definitely alive, kicking and very very well!

More Information: http://www.vervelabelgroup.com


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