John Coltrane : Coltrane
John Coltrane : Coltrane
John Coltrane (tenor sax), Sahib Shihab (baritone sax), Johnnie Splawn (trumpet), Red Garland, Mal Waldron (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums)
Recorded in 1957
Analogue Productions - Quality Records : LP 200 gram
Brand New and Sealed Record
A1 - Bakai
A2 - Violets For Your Furs
A3 - Time Was
B1 - Straight Street
B2 - While My Lady Sleeps
B3 - Chronic Blues
Recorded May 31, 1957 by Rudy Van Gelder in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
Coltrane is John Coltrane's first album as a leader. It has been reissued at times under the title of First Trane.
As a member of the Miles Davis Quintet, Prestige Records owner and producer Bob Weinstock offered Coltrane a recording contract. Dated April 9, 1957, it stipulated three albums per year at $300 per album. Coltrane had previously recorded as a sideman, and had co-led a session with Paul Quinichette released in 1959 as Cattin' with Coltrane and Quinichette, but never as sole bandleader.
John Coltrane had actually just been fired by Miles Davis in April 1957 for drug abuse, but retreated home in Philadelphia to clean himself out. He returned to New York City for mid-May sessions with Prestige, this one taking place the day after Memorial Day. By the summer, Coltrane would be recording with Thelonious Monk and playing as a member of his quartet for the rest of the year.
John Coltrane chose a tune by his friend Calvin Massey, in addition to three standards including the relatively obscure "Time Was". The titles to the Coltrane originals, "Chronic Blues" and "Straight Street", indicate his struggles with substance abuse and his new-found resolve after conquering his habits. Sidemen included Paul Chambers and Red Garland from the Davis band, and Philadelphia colleagues Johnnie Splawn and Albert Heath.
"Bakai" (meaning "cry" in Arabic), by Cal Massey, opens side one. Its handsome minor theme is expounded by pianist Red Garland, Coltrane (who’s horn really cries), and baritone saxophonist Sahib Shihab. The rest of side one is handled by the quartet featuring Coltrane and Garland. Two ballad standards, "Violet for Your Furs," and "Time Was," are the subjects; the former receives a sensitive ballad treatment while the latter is done in bright medium time.
Side two opens on "Straight Street," a Coltrane composition and arrangement featuring solos by Coltrane, trumpeter Johnnie Splawn and pianist Mal Waldron. An interestingly different Coltrane interpretation of the seldom-done "While My Lady Sleeps" is Coltrane’s alone until Splawn joins him for a final errie note. Coltrane’s "Chronic Blues" is the closer and gives all the horns and Waldron solo room.