John Coltrane: One Down, One Up


One Down, One Up


John Coltrane (tenor sax)


One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note (Impulse B0002380-02)

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John Coltrane (tenor sax), McCoy Tyner (piano), Jimmy Garrison (bass), Elvin Jones (drums).

Recorded: Live at the Half Note, New York, March 26, 1965


Rating: 99/100 (learn more)

Unearthed, cleaned up and released 40 years after it was recorded, this performance stands among the Coltrane quartet’s most rewarding. The opening number, which runs nearly half an hour, is a tour de force of creativity and stamina. This would be the final year the legendary group remained together, and they play like they were aware of that fact – with immediacy, urgency and audacity. Elvin Jones bashes away at his kit, Jimmy Garrison plucks with great speed and dexterity, and McCoy Tyner plunks down powerful, well-spaced chords that threaten to break the piano strings and shatter the ivories. Coltrane himself blows so fiercely he must have been gasping for air, ready to pass out, by the end of it all. A meteorologist would call it hurricane-force improvisation with intermittent tornadoes.

Reviewer: Steve Greenlee

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