First Meditations (for quartet)

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First Meditations (for quartet)
The cover is a painting depicting a giant bluebird peering over the horizon, a rose, a saxophone in the extreme foreground, and a blue photograph of Coltrane wafting in the air. The album title and artist appear in script at the top of the white border.
Studio album by John Coltrane
ReleasedDecember 1977[1]
RecordedSeptember 2, 1965
Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs
GenreAvant-garde jazz, Free jazz, Modal jazz
Length52:16
LabelImpulse!
AS-9332
ProducerBob Thiele
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic4/5 stars[2]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz4/4 stars[3]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide4/5 stars[4]

First Meditations (for quartet) is an album by John Coltrane recorded on September 2, 1965 and posthumously released in 1977. It is a quartet version of a suite Coltrane would record as Meditations two months later with the additions of Pharoah Sanders as a second tenor saxophone and Rashied Ali on drums. Along with Sun Ship, recorded a week earlier, First Meditations represents the final recordings of Coltrane's classic quartet featuring bassist Jimmy Garrison, drummer Elvin Jones and pianist McCoy Tyner. The "Meditations" suite on this album consists of five movements, and is similar in musical character to the individual pieces on Sun Ship. "Love" and "Serenity" are both free-form pieces with no fixed tempo or chord progression in the traditional jazz sense. "Consequences" is a high-intensity, up tempo piece that closely resembles the title track from Sun Ship, with a theme consisting only of a brief, repetitive staccato phrase, and with an "extreme" solo from Coltrane featuring altissimo-register playing and multiphonics.

In addition to the five movements of the suite, the album also includes an alternate version of "Joy" which was recorded on September 22, 1965. This track is the last known recording of the Coltrane/Tyner/Garrison/Jones quartet, as later recordings all involved other musicians. Tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders joined Coltrane's group beginning with the live Seattle date on September 30 (Live in Seattle) and played on the sextet version of Meditations, recorded November 23, 1965. Both McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones left Coltrane's group in January, 1966.

Track listing[edit]

All pieces written by John Coltrane.
  1. "Love" – 8:03
  2. "Compassion" – 9:32
  3. "Joy" – 8:52
  4. "Consequences" – 7:21
  5. "Serenity" – 6:12
  6. "Joy (alternate version)" – 12:16

Personnel[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Billboard Jan 7, 1978
  2. ^ First Meditations at AllMusic
  3. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 291. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.
  4. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 47. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.