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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Lush Life indeed!

John Coltrane's "Lush Life" on Prestige 7188 Yellow Bergenfield labels.... this LP has been a revelation.... I guess like many people I have discounted his Prestige output (say in comparison to his Atlantic/Impulse ouevre).... this owes its explanation partly to the fact that I have a bunch of Prestige cd issues which are not really Coltrane issues but were released under his name after Coltrane hit it real big in the 1960s....i guess these turned me off to the label's Coltrane releases but I overlooked a few original Coltrane LPs.... anyways, I think Prestige itself did not think much of the songs on this LP.. why? because the notes on tell me the songs on this were recorded in the second half of 1957 and very early 1958 BUT the album was not released (I deduce this from looking at the release dates of the Prestige LPs around this one ..say 7187 , 7189, 7190, etc.) until late 1960 or early 1961..... so what happened? probably Coltrane had a hit, don't you think? something like "My Favorite Things" perhaps? on Atlantic.. this was probably Prestige's effort to profit... and don't labels do that well? what about the LP cover? again, at first when I saw this I thought it was Kenny Dorham! Coltrane looks a bit thin.. he's got bags under his eyes.. this is not the very professional looking Coltrane from his other album covers.... Prestige probably had to use the pictures it had..i dunno.. looks to me that this is the Coltrane from before he kicked his drug demons and dealt with his other addictions.... i love the blue fonts utilized for his name and album title by the way.. which are changed to boring white for the cd issue.....

and the music? the first side is a session from 1957 (recorded after the Blue Train session for Blue Note) with coltrane, bass and drums..reminds me of the contemporaneous Sonny Rollins release Way Out West.. except it was apparently an accident as the scheduled pianist Red Garland (who at the time was like Coltrane in Miles' quintet) did not show up! in any case, it sounds great with Coltrane out there soloing on his own.. not grounded by the piano chords.....Coltrane is at his melodious best on some ballads and an improvised blues "Trane's Slo Blues"....this is Coltrane before the abrasive sheets of sound period...... a Coltrane that I think is always underrated as I enjoy him most when he is playing it Impulse's Ballads set or the Johnny Hartman collaboration or even "Spiritual"... the second side has one track which adds Red Garland and Donald Byrd: the 14 minute centerpiece "Lush Life"... very very nice version and interesting to compare to the version he cut a few years later with Johnny Hartman....this LP also includes a version of a Cole Porter song, "I Love You" which never did get as much play as some of Cole's other songs.. though it sure sounds like Cole Porter... great stuff. highly recommended.. a lost classic in my opinion!.. a Coltrane record you will play over and over again!!..

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