Best Coltrane Albums - Great Tenor Sax Recordings


2002-06-14 12:08 am
I am sitting listening to the Prestige K2 remastered CD version of John Coltrane's "Lush Life." Fabulous sound and great music! I love these K2 and XRCD recordings!

Do any of you have favorite Coltrane albums that you would recommend? I have a series of his live recordings at the Village Vanguard or Blue Note (can't remember) that I don't like as much.

Also, how about some favorite saxophone recordings and players that you admire?

Thanks to All,

Greg Grimes :note::note:
Coltrane hints

forgive me but i move this thread, we have a music board. I leave a link in this board, thread will be easy to find.

I did mention the John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman recording. A recording as superb as this is "Duke Ellington and John Coltrane", Impulse! A-30.

But these are not the only Coltrane albums i recommend.

Absolute musts are the recordings Coltrane made together with Thelonious Monk on the Jazzland and Riverside label.

I am not all too much into early Coltrane except the "Coltrane" Prestige 7105 and the "Blue Train" (Blue Note 1577) but practically everything on the Atlantic label (exception "the Avant-Garde", the record he made together with Don Cherry) is highly recommended. The Atlantic crown jewel albums are:
Giant Steps
My favourite things
Coltrane plays the blues

On the impulse! label every and any recording is also highly recommended; i have only one i do not personally like so much: "Ballads"
The impulse! crown jewel albums are:
Africa Brass
A Love Supreme
Ascension (1st and 2nd edition) :cloud9:
Expression (and posthumous follow up "Stellar Regions")
:att'n: Ascension and Expression are pure, unthinned Free Jazz.

Things i do not hunt are his recordings on the Pablo label; not that they are bad but there is the same material played better on other recordings.

Unlike other Jazz giants (i have Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk here in mind) Coltrane kept his incredible artistic level on record without interuptions, without any goof or deterioation. I have never heard a bad Coltrane record.


2002-06-14 12:08 am
Thanks ml and Bernhard.

I have always enjoyed Coltrane on the Miles albums I have. It's interesting that the guy was such a "music machine." Having hung around musicians for years, I can tell you that it is rare to find a player who is both a phenomenal artist and relentlessly consistent. Virtually everyone is one or the other, even "world-class" players.

I'll start collecting. I'm loving "Lush Life."


2002-05-17 8:48 pm
Check out the soprano sax solo on Paul Butterfield's "In My Own Dream".

Also, the sax in "Mr. Charlie" on the Eric Burdon Declares War CD. You can almost hear his tonsils flapping against the reed!

Try the Naked Lunch soundtrack- lots of Ornette Coleman.
my #1 coltrane favorite


If anyone doesn't got this record then go get it!

Impulse has it on 180gr vinyl - (Impulse Gr-156).

I'm listenig to it right now on my SOZ. It's amazing what 4 guys in '62 could do (J. Coltrane-sax, Elvin Jones-drums, jimmy garrison-bass and McCoy tyner-piano) , and it's also amazing how good it is on vinyl - far better then cd (I have it too, to listen in the car and stuff).

It's really good. :D
Sonny Rollins

Crown jewel:
the "Saxophone Colossus" album on the Prestige label. Particularly "Blue Seven": this is a masterpiece. 100% wearproof; i listened to it a few 100 times, still discover new subtle details, interrelations.

This is a piece for the beginner, Rollins always stays close to the theme; relation between theme and improvisation always remains clear. A good piece to get acquainted with Modern Jazz.

This also is a piece for the advanced listener, see above. I consider it as formally perfect as any given Haydn string quartet and as complex as the most advanced Beethoven string quartets.

Other recommended Rollins albums:
Sonny Rollins vol.2 (Blue Note 1558), 2 tunes with Thelonious Monk :gasp: :up::cheerful:
A night at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note 1581), checkout "A night in Tunesia"!
Newk's Time (Blue Note 4001)
Our man in jazz - Sonny Rollins (RCA Victor LPM-2612), with Don Cherry. Hot!
The Standard Sonny Rollins (RCA Victor LPM-3355). Standards. Just gorgeous.
Alfie (impulse! A-9111). Soundtrack.


2001-04-20 8:32 pm

Hi Gabreilshorn,

I also think 'A Love Supreme' is an excellent album, I'm not sure if it's been mentioned but another one of the (I think) Impulse recordings is an album simply called 'Coltrane', there's a wonderful track on it called 'Miles Mode'. I have my copy on Jasmin Records.


Charlie Parker aka Bird

we just got started :)
Charlie Parker: practically everthing is recommended ... my only exception: When he recorded "Max Making Wax" he was toooo stoned :drunk:..:hypno1:. This recording is contained in the 2 LP album called "Charlie Parker/ the very best of Bird" on the Warner label . This album is a collection of the Dial session master takes. There also exists a 6 LP box called "Charlie Parker" with almost the same cover design and TMK it contains the complete Dial sessions with all alternate takes. Charlie Parker was incapable of repeating solos, each one was an original, and so the sidemen's performance determined which would become the master take in most occasions.
This 6LP box is a collectors item and well worth to be sought.

Same witth "the Savoy Sessions": a series of 5 LPs having the master take and many alternate takes. Each worth listening.

Another collectors item for the Parker fanatic: "the complete Dean Benedetti recordings of Charlie Parker" on the Mosaic label, 7 LP box. The sonic quality is mostly good; all are bootleg recordings made under adventurous circumstances. It is the most rigorous Parker-only collection: the recordings contain **only** solos of Charlie Parker; as soon as another musician takes over => fade out.

indeed "a love supreme" is an outstanding Coltrane record. I mentioned it in my crown jewel list.
As far as sonics are concerned, stay away from the Jasmine re-issue label. Not recommended; they are more apart from the 1st pressing sonics than imaginable.
Better try to get early pressings on ebay.


Paid Member
2002-09-12 1:54 pm
Southbury CT
Re: Coltrane hints

dice45 said:

Unlike other Jazz giants (i have Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk here in mind) Coltrane kept his incredible artistic level on record without interuptions, without any goof or deterioation. I have never heard a bad Coltrane record.

Curious about the bad Monk and Miles recordings you've heard.

I like Coltranes "Impressions". My favourite tune "India" (coincidently I am asian Indian). My favourite version of "India" being Jack DeJohnette's version in his "First Edition" album. Takes me back to train rides in India .... Jack's playing is an absolutely unbelievable movement of emotional energy.


i must confess i am not a particular Miles Davis fan; i find some of his albums exceptional, some very and most them are unoriginal IMO. Those i favour are those favoured by most reviewers as cornerstones, as landmarks of something new happening: Round midnight, Kind of Blue, Sketches of Spain, Bitches Brew. Oh and still the best, crown jewels: the fabulous 1954 Xmas session, issued on Prestige 7150 "Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants" and on Prestige 7109 "Bags Groove"

Interestingly, Miles demanded from Monk not to disturb his solos on this session. What vexes me most on his solos are the gaps, the pauses Miles makes. And apart from that, the dialogue and interplay between Monk and Milt Jackson is something super-special, particularly on the 1st take of "Bag's Groove"

Monk is together with Trane my absolute favourite musician in Jazz, i like him even more than Bird and this means something. But my preference is for recordings on Prestige and his appearance as sideman (BLP 1558, "Sonny Rollins vol.2") and leader on BlueNote as well as most of the albums released on the Riverside label. But some of those are just very very good whereas others are simply outstanding:
"Monk's Music" and "Brilliant Corners".
Monk's Music has a sister record on the Jazzland label: "Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane" which also is a crown jewel.

The Riverside producer Orrin Keepnews did a fine and thorough job in in giving all Monk albums on the Riverside label a conceptional continuity and entirety.

When Monk went to CBS, this no longer was the case. Albums were more and more becoming lovelessly cut-together conceptional messes; ths went worse with time. My favourite Monk albumns on CBS: Monk's Dream, Criss-Cross, Misterioso, Straight No Chaser, Underground. These albums i hunted until i had flawless original pressings, te other i do not find worth owning. Already with the "Underground" album, the conceptional mess becomes obvious: although the music is outstanding, the cover tells weird lies about Captain Monk as member of the French WWII -Resistance, referring to a disgusting cover photo showing Monk in military outfit at the piano, a dead German Stormtrooper visible in the background.
Monk's biography tells he never was member of any military outfit and the image of his personality gained from people who knew him personally makes it completely unplausible Monk has survived this for more than a week without being thrown out or courtmartialed and shot for disobedience.

I wonder what the CBS producer Teo Macero and his marketing guys had in te cavity located between their ears.

Later CBS albums do not even show that much imagination and the music becomes more and more boring to me, i always have a deja-vu experience, listening to this. Monk must have been very unhappy, besides the comparatively huge money he earned. On his late albums on the BlackLion label his fun comes back but is not the mentally taut musician he once was and while it is fun to listen to, it is not as exciting as his outstanding recordings of earlier years. In his last years, he did not even touch the piano, he slowly faded away he watched TV and slept. and i am meaning that literal.

I have forgotten to mention one crown jewel / must-hunt:
his solo performance recorded 1954 in Paris on the Vogue label (M33.342). It is practically unavailable on vinyl, be it on whatever re-issue. But it is available as :cd: on BMG 74321409362.
All his soloperformances are wirth collecting but this one is the proverbial record to be taken to the lonely island

And then there is this Clark Terry album on Riverside "In Orbit" where Monk plays as sideman and which untipical for him. One thing becomes utterly apparent on this album as well as on Monk's Music and on "Monk & Coltrane": Thelonious Monk is the most supportive, quality boosting, harmonics tension building accomapnying pianist ever feeding a chord carpet under the current solo. he does not disturb the music, he just improves it, by several quality classes if needed. Or not at all if the solo is good.

That does not mean he does not disturb the musician :) and that Miles Davis was unable to stand Monk's accompanying and chord-feeding on the 1954 Xmas session :cheeky: does not make Miles look particulary good :).

I think Coltrane had some good moments on the 1956 Prestige records together with Miles. The were backed up with one of the greatest rythm sections of all time.

Bye the way, it is the same rythmsection as on the Saxophone Colossus album.

Some of the 1958 records on Prestige are also great.

One of the greatest improvisations he ever recorded in my opinion, is "Feeling Good" (1965). It never went on record at that time but it was issued in the late seventies.



Paid Member
2002-09-12 1:54 pm
Southbury CT
dice45 said:

i must confess i am not a particular Miles Davis fan; i find some of his albums exceptional, some very and most them are unoriginal IMO.
That does not mean he does not disturb the musician :) and that Miles Davis was unable to stand Monk's accompanying and chord-feeding on the 1954 Xmas session :cheeky: does not make Miles look particulary good :).

Will try and check out the Monk's pressings you suggested.
Monks mental health was in question in the later years I believe.

I think Miles was pissed of with Monk, beacuse of how "slow" Monk was playing. Considering that Miles always admitted, that Monk was instrumental in teaching him, chord changes.

I believe he did something similar to John Coltrane, where when John asked Miles how he should end his long solos , Miles frustrated with John's long solo's said "Pull the M***********N horn out of your mouth".

Other than Miles' later recordings (though there are some "live" gems), which of his recordings would you consider unoriginal.