Since John Coltrane’s untimely death in 1967 we’ve been given a plethora of unreleased music by the jazz master and innovator. With all of the sessions Coltrane had recorded throughout the 50s and 60s there was bound to be some things that never saw the light of day. The amount of records released by John Coltrane(or rather his labels and his estate) after his death in 1967 is pretty staggering. Some, like Sunship, Interstellar Space, Stellar Regions, and Africa/Brass are as iconic as his hard bop work from the early 60s.
Last year saw the release of Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album, which was recorded with Coltrane’s classic quartet of Coltrane, bassist Jimmy Garrison, pianist McCoy Tyner, and drummer Elvin Jones. It was a reminder to all of us of the absolute musical power those four possessed when together. Recorded between Coltrane and A Love Supreme, it sat right in the middle of what is arguably Coltrane’s greatest era.
Now, we have been gifted once again by the music Gods with Blue World, an unreleased album by the classic John Coltrane quartet via Impulse! Records. Recorded in 1964, the album is primo Coltrane. Here’s Impulse! Records press release:
Coltrane recorded Blue World between the sessions for his landmark albums Crescent and a Love Supreme, at Van Gelder studio in New Jersey, where he cut many of his albums, including the aforementioned two. He had been approached by a Quebecois filmmaker named Gilles Groulx, who knew Coltrane’s bassist Jimmy Garrison, and asked Coltrane if he would record music for use in an upcoming film called Le chat dans le sac. Coltrane obliged, but Groulx only ended up using 10 minutes of the 37-minute session in the film.
John Coltrane was the first jazz musician I ever obsessed over. I’d dabbled with Dizzy Gillespie in high school and Monk in my early 20s, but it wasn’t until about 15 years ago when I bought A Love Supreme in a reissue form on CD that everything really clicked for me. His gift to God. I’m not religious, but there was something heavy and deep about what he was setting out to do with that album. It was very progressive and personal. I connected to it on a very raw, emotional level.
I bought everything I could find. First the usual suspects(Blue Train, Giant Steps, My Favorite Things), but then I started digging into stuff like Interstellar Space, Ascension, Stellar Regions, Crescent, Live at the Village Vanguard Again!, and Expression. As much as I love the free form, out there stuff he was creating those last couple years of his life, it was his classic hard bop and modal jazz that I find myself always coming back to as I get older. Having another unreleased record from his classic quartet is just what the doctor ordered, and from the sound of title track “Blue World” this is primo Coltrane. Smart, sophisticated, smooth, and intellectually satisfying. If A Love Supreme and Crescent are right up your alley, “Blue World” will satisfy your Coltrane itch.
Blue World will be released by Impulse! Records on September 27th. Hit up your local brick and mortar and preorder it.