Guy Berger

Greatest John Coltrane solos

39 posts in this topic

A few years ago a dude on the Coltrane list posted his favorite solos. I haven't heard all of these, and haven't heard some of them enough to know whether they are favorites, but I thought I'd post the list to get a discussion going. What are your favorites? Personally I'd add "Straight No Chaser" (from Milestones), "Blue in Green" (from youknowwhat), "Someday My Prince Will Come", "Ole" (not a nut about this album, but Coltrane's solo near the end is one of my favorites), the studio "Acknowledgment", "I Want to Talk About You" (from Live at Birdland), and "Serenity" (from First Meditations).

Also, #41 and #43 on the list (as well as the honorable mention at the end) are truly phenomenal -- can't wait to hear the cleaned up versions on the upcoming Half Note release.

So I wrote:

<<I could probably list 50 great Coltrane solos...>>

And someone asked, with politely muted sarcasm:

<<Only 50?>>

OK, how about:

SIXTY-TWO GREAT TRANE SOLOS!

1. 'Round Midnight (9-10-56)

2. Trinkle Tinkle (7-57)

3. News for Lulu (9-1-57)

4. Blue Train (9-15-57)

5. Milestones (2-4-58)

6. Little Melonae (3-26-58)

7. If I Were a Bell (9-9-58)

8. So What (3-2-59)

9. So What (4-2-59)

10. Flamenco Sketches, alt. take (4-6 or 22-59)

11. Countdown (5-4 or 5-59)

12. Giant Steps (5-5-59)

13. On Green Dolphin Street (3-21-60)

14. Walkin' (3-21-60)

15. Bye Bye Blackbird (3-21-60)

16. So What (4-9-60)

17. My Favorite Things (10-21-60)

18. Teo (3-21-61)

19. Brasilia (11-1-61)

20. Chasin' the Trane (11-2-61)

21. Blue Train (11-18-61)

22. Impressions (11-27-61)

23. Impressions (12-2-61)

24. Mr. P.C. (2-9-62)

25. Out of This World (6-19-62)

26. Up 'Gainst the Wall (9-18-62)

27. In a Sentimental Mood (9-26-62)

28. Autumn Leaves (11-28-62)

29. Impressions (7-7-63)

30. The Promise (10-8-63)

31. Spiritual (10-22-63)

32. I Want to Talk About You (10-22-63)

33. Impressions (11-4-63)

34. Mr. P.C. (11-4-63)

35. Alabama (11-18-63)

36. Wise One (4-27-64)

37. Bessie's Blues (6-1-64)

38. Psalm (12-9-64)

39. Chim Chim Cheree (3-19-65)

40. Impressions (3-19-65)

41. Creation (4-2-65)

42. I Want to Talk About You (4-2-65)

43. Song of Praise (5-7-65)

44. Dear Lord (5-26-65)

45. Welcome (6-10-65)

46. Transition (6-10-65)

47. Vigil (6-16-65)

48. Ascension, take 1 (Edition II) (6-28-65)

49. Ascension, take 2 (Edition I) (6-28-65)

50. Pursuance (7-26-65)

51. Ascension (7-28-65)

52. untitled sax-drums duet (8-1-65)

53. Sun Ship (8-26-65)

54. Cosmos (9-30-65)

55. Evolution (9-30-65)

56. Meditations (all of it) (11-23-65)

57. Reverend King (2-2-66)

58. Welcome (7-2-66)

59. Venus (2-22-67)

60. Number One (3-7-67)

61. Ogunde (4-23-67)

62. My Favorite Things (4-23-67)

And an honorable mention to "One Down, One Up" from the Half Note, March 26, 1965--a 28-minute solo (half of it a Trane-Elvin duet) that has its moments but never quite takes off; the urgent, relentless _weight_ of it makes this one of my favorite Trane solos, even though I don't really think it's "great."

Anyway, for what it's worth.

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I haven't heard all of these but I have a hard time taking seriously any list that doesn't include the original version of "Pursuance."

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Ooooh yeah. "One Down, One Up" from Dear Old Stolkholm is killer. I don't know if its the same one. The one I'm referring to is about 15 min in length.

I basically love every Trane solo. From the Blue Trane stuff to Ascension. All of it. I'm more into modern jazz, so his stuff bordering Avant-Garde and some a little over the line really appeals to me. I swear, Coltrane was years ahead of his time.

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Ooooh yeah. "One Down, One Up" from Dear Old Stolkholm is killer. I don't know if its the same one. The one I'm referring to is about 15 min in length.

No, this is a live version from about 2 months earlier. Trane's solo is about 20 minutes long, half of that dedicated to a duet with Elvin. :excited:

Good call from the Wheel about the studio "Pursuance" -- hard to choose between that one and the live version...

Guy

Edited by Guy Berger

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What about some of the stuff from "John Coltrane Plays...," the live version (included on the CD) or Nature Boy, for example?

At least one version of Naima should probably be there. I would choose the one from Live at the Village Vanguard Again, although the live Paris 65 version is also a killer.

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The top of his solos are in the INTERSTELLAR SPACE album to this ears.

Love lot of others from all period, though.

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the one on Lush Life from the Hartman album

Yes! :tup

+ From the same album, the solo intro on "My One and Only Love" is a good one.

Edited by catesta

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His solo on ALS from the live recording, first part (I think - haven't listened to it in a while) is pretty heart-stopping. Of course, when he first enters on (youknowwhat) it really shows just how harmonically advanced he was, even for that band.

But then again, I'm a 'whole album' kind of guy myself, so...

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'Giant Steps' on the Atlantic album of the same name.

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I think I prefer Trane on the Master take of "Flamenco Sketches", but it's been some time since I listened to either take...

"Chasin' the Trane" would be way up on my list, also "Blue Train". And probably some of the solos on the upcoming Monk disc, too, since those three cuts on the "Monk/Coltrane" disc are magnificient!

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I take pleasure in knocking the socks off every jazz neophyte I meet with Trane's solo(s) on "Blues Minor" (AFRICA BRASS).

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'Giant Steps' on the Atlantic album of the same name.

Of course, there's no "greatest." That said, to me, "Giant Steps" sounds like the history and future of jazz saxophone all rolled into one of the most amazingly soulful and technical achievements possible on any instrument.

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'Giant Steps' on the Atlantic album of the same name.

Of course, there's no "greatest." That said, to me, "Giant Steps" sounds like the history and future of jazz saxophone all rolled into one of the most amazingly soulful and technical achievements possible on any instrument.

How about "Spiral"? I think when I first heard the Atlantic box, that one knocked me out even more!

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Summertime and But Not for Me? Both songs are arranged really well with some mind blowing soloing from Coltrane IMO.

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Nobody's mentioned the "Good Bait" on "Soultrane" yet? It makes me smile when little else can.

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The first ones that come to mind are:

Pursuance

But Not For Me

Flamenco Sketches

Blues Minor

I'm sure I could list a few other faves upon further reflection.

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Countdown

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Like Someone In Love on "Lush Life." Drums, Bass, Tenor...wow...

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The top of his solos are in the INTERSTELLAR SPACE album to this ears.

Love lot of others from all period, though.

I'll second that.

Stellar Region, too, and Transition (the tune).

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....and: Miles' answer would have been:

"The one where he took the horn out of his mouth in time!"

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"Out of this World" from Coltrane

"Naima" from Giant Steps

"Afro-Blue" from Live at Birdland

"Impressions" from Live at the Village Vanguard (which I've always preferred to "Chasin' the Trane")

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"Naima" from Giant Steps

My memory may be playing tricks on me, but I don't think Trane solos on this -- he just plays the melody.

Guy

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"Naima" from Giant Steps

My memory may be playing tricks on me, but I don't think Trane solos on this -- he just plays the melody.

Guy

Maybe a "solo" doesn't always have to include improvisation. 'Trane's playing on Naima is beautiful and very moving, at least to me.

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