Originally released as Prestige 7130 Donald Byrd (tp) John Coltrane (ts) Red Garland (p) George Joyner (b) Art Taylor (d) Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, November 15, 1957
Prestige’s cover – atmospheric black and white sense of place replaced by fried egg graphic for the UK jazz afficionado. Though Esquire got the essentials right – heavy vinyl super quality pressing – cover art was not their forte. The Fifties British jazz fan with thirty seven shillings and nine and a half pence to spend was deprived of the original as seen below:
Though I regularly encounter Coltrane fans who worship his “spiritual” phase after he cleaned up, from 1960 onward, I much prefer his earlier, less introspective joyous playing in these Fifties blowing sessions, as exemplified by this 1957 session for Prestige. That’s me taken off the Jazz Bohemians Christmas Party invitation list. The black beret has moth-holes in it anyway.
Garland keeps the wheels on the trolley with Art Taylor and George Joyner, while Byrd and Coltrane offer up extended solos, with the classic standard Gershwin tune occasionally showing through amidst the permanently inventive flow of notes. That’s half the fun with standards – checking how long it is before the soloists take off in his own direction, and any sly references to the tune during extended improvisations.
RVG in the run-out confirms an audio treat in store.