Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Olé - one of my favourite things...

John Coltrane recorded 'Olé Coltrane' in May 1961 with an expanded quartet. 'My Favourite Things'was already in the bag at this stage, and Olé represents a logical move onwards from this tune and the previous modal experiments of the Miles Davis band on 'Kind of Blue', but there seems to be a darker edge here, some shade where the original 'My Favourite Things' had a lighter, bouncier ambiance. The mp3 I've put up below, the title track 'Olé ', has Eric Dolphy on board – and Freddie Hubbard, an adventurous player who was to participate both in Ornette Coleman's 'Free Jazz' sessions and Coltrane's massive 'Ascension.' He acts as a bridge, maybe, Dolphy and Coltrane going further out already in their solos, playing off different by now underpinnings. Hubbard, somehow: 'thus far and no farther...'
Coltrane, of course, had a formidable technique and one can forget sometimes that he had been fine-honing his art for many, many years before he burst out into the sonic wildness of the sixties. In fact, his adoption of younger firebrand musicians in the avant garde of the sixties helped to bring them work and exposure and to validate the 'new thing's' questing for new sound worlds – after all, his track record was already there, his mastery of his instrument readily apparent from his recordings with Miles and Monk, for example, and all the other sessions he appeared on.
Olé is a bouncing 6/8 with the 'Spanish tinge' to the fore... a bit cod-Hispanic maybe, but propelled along on the thrumming two bass hit of Art Davis and Reggie Workman and the dark, pounding vamp of McCoy Tyner backed up by Elvin Jones's ripplingly sturdy drums. Dolphy on flute, keeping pretty much inside the modal contours here, along with Hubbard. Then Coltrane takes it out on squalling, wailing soprano. This is J.C. on the edge of his later stardom - and controversy - in an orthodox expansion of his quartet. And 18 minutes of essential music...

Olé - mp3


the album

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