John Coltrane was one of the premier saxophonists of all time, with a distinctive "smooth" style which rose beyond the normal pitfalls of slow jazz - namely, extended slow tunes and arbitrary construction of the rhythm.
This is a brilliant showpiece of Coltrane's works and, trust me, you don't have to like jazz to like this album. Though this is a mixture of pieces which feature both slow and swing jazz, the slower ones are by far the superior ones. The first good piece is his version of Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood", a classy piece if there ever was one. Then you've got "Afro Blue", which has a brilliant accompaniment on the piano. There's also an extremely original and detached version of "A Few Of My Favourite Things", the song immortalised by Julie Andrews. But, by and large, the best piece of the whole album is "Alabama", an original piece by Coltrane that's so filled with depth and longing and dark emotion that it's a wonder it was recorded in the first place. The feature of the album is also the overall feel of the songs, 'cos there are very few solo segments and the back-up is more than admirable.
This is a great album to pick up if you're a jazz lover, or even if you just like good music, because this is great music.This article was first published on 01 Nov 2001.