Like the blues, jazz music has a handful of performers who clearly stand out from the rest. John Coltrane is one of those performers. Although his life was cut short in 1967 at the age of 40 due to liver cancer, Coltrane’s legacy has never wavered over the years.
In celebration of what would have been his 90th birthday, Acrobat Records has assembled the astounding 4-disc box set ‘Trane 90.’
The anthology goes deep into the life of the musician, from when he was just an unknown sideman, through his career, to when Coltrane became known for his innovative contemporary jazz. The early days finds Coltrane renting out his tenor saxophone services to any musician in need, not only to get his name out there among his peers but to make a living. He ended up working with a long line of varied jazz greats including Miles Davis (“So What”); Thelonious Monk (“Trinkle Tinkle”); Sonny Rollins; Cecil Taylor; and George Russell. All of those contributions are included in this discography.
Later in his career, Coltrane stepped out from the shadows of other performers and assembled his own band, which took his career to a whole new level. He became known as a jazz master on the tenor sax, a visionary, and a true game changer of the genre who still influences musicians today.
In addition to the studio recordings of the first three discs is the added bonus disc of Coltrane showing his talents in a live setting with cuts which include Dizzy Gillespie and Johnny Hodges. There is also a booklet which features an essay penned by jazz saxophonist, author, and Coltrane devotee Simon Spillett.
I will be the first to admit, my John Coltrane knowledge was limited to his 1965 tour de force ‘A Love Supreme,’ but ‘Trane 90’ opened me up to a whole new world of John Coltrane.