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JazzTimes 10: All-Time Great Jazz Quartets

From Goodman to Shorter, some of the best jazz has carried the sign of four

John Coltrane Quartet
Most powerful and influential jazz quartet of all time? Quite possibly. A Love Supreme and Impressions are of course unimpeachable documents of this band, but we recommend delving deeper: Pick up 1965’s The John Coltrane Quartet Plays (Impulse!). Okay, it does include more than four musicians—Art Davis joins Jimmy Garrison on bass for one tune—but the awe-inspiring rendition of “Chim Chim Cheree” is just the classic quartet, with Trane on soprano sax. The piercing first note of his solo on that track is, we contend, one of the most intense musical moments ever captured on tape by anyone.

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Originally Published
Mac Randall

Mac Randall

Mac Randall has been the editor of JazzTimes since May 2018. Prior to that, he wrote regularly for the magazine. He has written about numerous genres of music for a wide variety of publications over the past 30 years, including Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The New York Observer, Mojo, and Guitar Aficionado, and he has worked on the editorial staffs of Musician, LAUNCH (now Yahoo! Music), Guitar One, Teaching Music, Music Alive!, and In Tune Monthly. He is the author of two books, Exit Music: The Radiohead Story and 101 Great Playlists. He lives in New York City.