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  • Product Code: PRCD-7123-2
Even with comparatively nominal experience in the role of bandleader, John Coltrane (tenor sax) ably commands the Red Garland Trio consisting of Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Art Taylor (drums) through five selections on John Coltrane with the Red Garland Trio (1958). Here the players are given the perfect platform to demonstrate their respective versatility as performers, combo members, and for Coltrane, as a composer of the project's opener and title track "Traneing In," as well as the masterful "Bass Blues." The former is one of the tenor's best-known works as it not only bears his surname, but also exemplifies some of his trademark performance attributes namely his abilities as an effective communicator and arranger. Garland takes the front end of the tune before yielding to Coltrane. Once Chambers gets in on the action, he lets loose with references to the children's seasonal favorite "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" in the playful spirit of the moment. Conversely, the bassist's introduction to the earthy ballad "Slow Dance" begins with a brief excursion into formless dissonance that rapidly dissolves into a noir ballad that shimmers in Coltrane's refreshing, robust, and brisk lines. His domination is brief as Chambers, who is followed by Garland, become primary participants. The pianist's lush and richly appointed fills are comparable to that of Nat King Cole or even Erroll Garner with the rhythm section providing a textural balance. Coltrane's assertive original "Bass Blues" drives forward with the tenor remaining evenhanded, if not at times purposefully reserved. Less staid are Garland's limber blues runs as he frolics up and down the '88s. Chambers' contributions should not be overlooked either as his interminably cheerful bowing enhances the optimistic feel. Always a sucker for a love song, "You Leave Me Breathless" is nothing short of sublime and this rendition is unquestionably picture perfect and suitable for framing. Coltrane is charming and romantic, weaving his way through Chambers as Garland lightly prods him on. "Soft Lights and Sweet Music" is beauty and grandeur on a completely different strata. Listeners are served up a heaping helping of Coltrane and company at their bebop best. With his aim steadfastly fixed upon what amounts to research and development of his "sheets of sound," Coltrane unleashes a flood of notes without getting lost or bogged down, predicting the direction that his future sonic voyages would take._x000D_ Review by Lindsay Planer

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