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John Coltrane: Coltrane (Deluxe Edition)

Coltrane, Ballads and A Love Supreme succinctly trace the arc of John Coltrane’s early ’60s ascendancy as an artist and as a market force, which still shapes jazz today. In the span of three years, the saxophonist went from an artist requiring a makeover for acceptance by a broader audience to one that created an immediate-now perennial-best-selling album with what was to date his most visionary music. The real benefit of these two-CD deluxe editions is that they substantially flesh out this transformation with rare and newly discovered material, including such long-lost treasures as the sextet versions of “Acknowledgement” from A Love Supreme, featuring tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp and bass player Art Davis.

Though not as headline grabbing, the rarities comprising the second CD of both the Coltrane and Ballads packages reveal much about the evolution of Coltrane’s relationship with Impulse and producer Bob Thiele. Coltrane features seven previously unissued tracks, including a Bobby Timmons-tinged McCoy Tyner composition, “Not Yet.” Closer to the gritty sound of Timmons than the expansive compositional voice Tyner later developed, “Not Yet” possesses a palatable if generic hard-bop quality that could presumably offset more far-reaching pieces like “Miles’ Mode” and the undervalued blues “Tunji,” which provided a continuity of edge and concept with Coltrane’s first Impulse title, Africa/Brass.

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