Sun Ship

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Sun Ship
Studio album by John Coltrane
Released 1971
Recorded August 26, 1965
Genre Avant-garde jazz
Length 42:28
Label Impulse!
Producer Bob Thiele, John Coltrane
John Coltrane chronology
Sun Ship
First Meditations
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide 4/5 stars[2]

Sun Ship is a posthumously released jazz album recorded on August 26, 1965, by tenor saxophonist John Coltrane. The album extended the free jazz ideas of Transition[citation needed]. The relaxed, serene feel of earlier ballads like "Welcome" was transformed into a new style of ballad on "Dearly Beloved" and "Attaining". This style involved very slow tempos, drum rolls and fills, and a louder, more intense feel than traditional jazz ballads. Like "Psalm" (from A Love Supreme), there is no real tune, just a scale or series of tones used to build an improvised theme. Coltrane's solos on the other tracks are also more extreme than on his earlier albums, and are reminiscent of the style of Albert Ayler and Pharoah Sanders in their extensive use of altissimo and multiphonics.

Sun Ship was one of the only albums John Coltrane's quartet recorded without sound engineer Rudy Van Gelder. It was also one of the last albums (with First Meditations, recorded a week later) which John Coltrane recorded before he began experimenting with larger groups. Tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders was playing regularly with the band by September, 1965, and both McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones left the band in January, 1966.

Sun Ship: The Complete Session, a two-CD collection, was released much later.[3] On this release, "Amen" appears unaltered, and there are alternative takes of all five tracks, incomplete takes, and sections of some titles.[3]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Sun Ship" – 6:12
  2. "Dearly Beloved" – 6:27
  3. "Amen" – 8:16
  4. "Attaining" – 11:26
  5. "Ascent" – 10:10



  1. ^ Jurek, Thom "Review". AllMusic. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  2. ^ Swenson, J. (Editor) (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 47. ISBN 0-394-72643-X. 
  3. ^ a b Hale, James (February 2014) "Chasing an Illusive New Form". Down Beat. p. 84