JOHN COLTRANE — Ascension

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3.67 | 37 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 1965

Tracklist

A Ascension (Part 1) 18:35
B Ascension (Part 2) 19:15

Complete Ascension (CD re-release,Impulse! ‎– MVCI-23016,1991,Japan) version's track list:
1.Ascension - Edition II 40:23
2.Ascension - Edition I 38:31

Original-LP issue: Ascension Impulse AS-95 (track 2 issued on first pressing, track 1 on all subsequent pressings)

Line-up/Musicians

Marion Brown – alto saxophone
John Coltrane – tenor saxophone
Art Davis – upright bass
Jimmy Garrison – upright bass
Freddie Hubbard – trumpet
Dewey Johnson – trumpet
Elvin Jones – drums
Pharoah Sanders – tenor saxophone
Archie Shepp – tenor saxophone
John Tchicai – alto saxophone
McCoy Tyner – piano

About this release

Impulse! ‎– A-95 (US)

Recorded 28 June, 1965 at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

2000 re-release contains two versions of original album on one CD (Impulse! – 543 413-2)

Thanks to Abraxas, snobb for the updates

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SaltyJon
More than anything else, music for me is all about expression, the artist being able to present listeners with music for music's sake. More often than not, artists are bound by traditional structures, meter, melody, that kind of thing. Free jazz in general, and this recording specifically, really worked its way around those conventional restrictions and let the artist and the music do the talking.

This is an album which is full of life, full of spontaneity and (big surprise) a large amount of freedom on the part of the musicians. As the liner notes state, Marion Brown said that the sessions "had that kind of thing in them that makes people scream." For me, it's easy to see why, because the recordings seem to have some life of their own which is still a rare thing after all these years. Coltrane assembled a top notch lineup for this recording, with excellent performances from everyone involved. It's impossible for me to point out a particular high point as far as the soloing goes, because they all bring something unique to the table.

This album is not tame. It is not music you would want to play on a first date (or second, or third, basically it's not an album for lovers). It will almost definitely not reveal itself to you after only a few listens, but rather it will test your patience and resilience to the squonking and squealing which is often associated with free jazz. It's definitely not a great starting point for the genre either, but once you've gotten to know free jazz a bit then this one is an absolutely essential addition to your collection. The album is really something special, and based on my still expanding viewpoint of jazz, it's easily one of the masterpieces among masterpieces, one of the best of the best. No hesitation from me in giving this one five stars, it will blow your mind.

Note: as for the two versions which are on the CD I have, I can't say I really prefer one above the other. The first one presented (Version II) is Coltrane's preferred version of the work, but I'm just about equally pleased with both.

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