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Deepak

John Coltrane - Ascension and Edition II

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I am finally going to hear Ascension Edition II. I never picked it up on CD when it was reissued, but found a copy on vinyl for cheap. I'm very familiar with Ascension and enjoy it quite a bit. I'm curious which one everyone here prefers?

Also this quote from Wikipedia:

Two recordings of "Ascension" exist, called Edition I and Edition II. Edition I is the second recorded take of the composition and was originally released on Impulse in February 1966 (catalog number A-95). Because of vinyl limitations, it was divided into two parts. Edition II is the first take and Coltrane's preferred version.

For the bolded part there is no reference. Does anyone know the source of this information?

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The best source I know is the interview that Frank Kofsky did with Bob Thiele for the "Coda" John Coltrane Memorial Issue(May ,1968-- an issue I still have). And it says the opposite. Coltrane and Thiele thought the first take was better but Coltrane took a tape of take 2 home.When the first take was issued Trane called Thiele and said he'd been listening to take 2 and he liked it better. So they used Take 2 which is labeled Edition 11 for future pressings.

I love Wikipedia but it's often wrong. (As is every other encyclopedia.)

Edited by medjuck

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Anyone have a link to Chuck's memories of one or some of the early (earliest?) public discoveries of the multiple released takes of Ascension - back in the day? Some fascinating discussion, as I recall. (On my iPhone at the moment.)

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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The best source I know is the interview that Frank Kofsky did with Bob Thiele for the "Coda" John Coltrane Memorial Issue(May ,1968-- an issue I still have). And it says the opposite. Coltrane and Thiele thought the first take was better but Coltrane took a tape of take 2 home.When the first take was issued Trane called Thiele and said he'd been listening to take 2 and he liked it better. So they used Take 2 which is labeled Edition 11 for future pressings.

I love Wikipedia but it's often wrong. (As is every other encyclopedia.)

Thank you. And I agree with you on Wikipedia, which is why I was looking for the source of that information.

Anyone have a link to Chuck's memories of one or some of the early (earliest?) public discoveries of the multiple released takes of Ascension - back in the day? Some fascinating discussion, as I recall. (On my iPhone at the moment.)

Would love to read that!

Edited by Deepak

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From the liner notes of the 2000 US/EU CD (page 14):

Coltrane's preferred take of the piece appears first. There has heretofore been some uncertainty about which was actually recorded first. Assuming that the complete versions were the only takes of the piece recorded, that matter would seem to be resolved by the "take two" slate attached to the Edition I performance. That slate appears on this CD in the 0 index (the pause) before track 2.

Wikipedia's information could be based on the liner notes to this CD. So, it seems to be Bob Thiele's memory from a 1968 interview against the actual tapes.

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Anyone have a link to Chuck's memories of one or some of the early (earliest?) public discoveries of the multiple released takes of Ascension - back in the day? Some fascinating discussion, as I recall. (On my iPhone at the moment.)

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Thank you erwbol and Paul, that's a big help.

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I had a chance to hear Edition II, on vinyl with VAN GELDER and Edition II in the dead wax. I find it very interesting that this was sort of "silently" released with no mention on the record's labels or the jacket. The jacket is identical to my first pressing LP of Edition I.

Overall I really enjoyed the performances, but Edition I is my preferred take.

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I should probably form an opinion on one or the other...

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Chuck's recollections are fascinating.

I have a mono Van Gelder of Edition 1 and a stereo Van Gelder of Edition 2. I've vacillated on which I prefer, and am glad to be able to hear and enjoy both.

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I've come to prefer Edition II primarily because it's the artists preferred take. It has been the first track on all CD releases both in the West and Japan (except The Major Works) and the solos have become very familiar in a good way.

I should select Edition I the next few times I play Ascension.

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I'm thrilled to have it, and it's a piece of music I'll be revisiting many times.

Not to beat a dead horse, but given Impulse's hype artwork "the new wave of jazz", etc I am still really surprised they did not promote this new take somewhere on the artwork. It should have at least warranted a different jacket to make it stand out more? Especially given Coltrane's status as a musician at the time. Getting jazz musician of the year and album of the year with A Love Supreme.

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Additional information from Lewis Porter, italics mine.

"Two complete versions of "Ascension" were recorded, and Coltrane selected one to be released in 1966. Shortly afterward, Coltrane decided he liked the unissued take better, primarily because he didn't like the lack of variety created by the two alto saxophonists soloing back to back on the version that was released. Producer Bob Thiele substituted the other take for subsequent pressings..."

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