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  • Writer's pictureJazzLover

"Impressions" by John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

Previously unreleased take of Coltrane’s “Impressions” is like a musical time capsule that showcases the expansive synergy and staggering talent of two jazz titans during the early 1960s.

The album, originally released in 1963, is a multifaceted mosaic of live performances and studio recordings that span over three years. It embodies the eclectic and innovative spirit of that era, with a rich blend of jazz modality, Indian classical music influences, the blues, and a dash of traditional Swedish folk​​.

The live tracks were recorded at the Village Vanguard in 1961, and they bring the electricity and exhilaration of those legendary performances right into your living room. These recordings feature the classic Coltrane quartet with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones, who are joined by Eric Dolphy and Reggie Workman. Dolphy's long bass clarinet solo on 'India' is a standout, while Workman's contributions give the piece a vibrant, droning quality, reminiscent of Indian classical music.

The title track 'Impressions' is another gem, offering nearly fifteen minutes of Coltrane's mesmerizing soloing. It showcases a front-line combination of tenor and alto saxophones, delivering an urgency and depth that is immediately captivating. The studio tracks, recorded at Van Gelder Studio, add another layer of richness to the compilation, reflecting Coltrane's evolving emotional and musical range​​.

One surprising addition to the album is 'Dear Old Stockholm' a piece from an earlier Impulse offering. This track features drummer Roy Haynes, who replaces Elvin Jones and provides a dynamic rhythmic presence. Despite the disparate origins of the tracks, they fit remarkably well together, creating a coherent and powerful musical experience​.

There's a certain mystique to 'Impressions' that's hard to pin down. It's an album that captures the experimental spirit and the boundary-pushing nature of jazz in the 1960s. It's a testament to the incredible talent and creativity of John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy, and it remains a compelling listen even after all these years.

'Impressions' is a treasure trove of exceptional performances, showcasing the incredible talent and musical innovation of John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy. It is a must-listen for jazz enthusiasts and anyone interested in exploring the rich tapestry of American music history.


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