Impressions (John Coltrane album)

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Impressions cover.jpg
Studio album / Live album by
ReleasedMid July 1963[1]
RecordedNovember 3, 1961, September 18, 1962 and April 29, 1963
VenueVillage Vanguard, New York City
StudioVan Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Length47:38 CD reissue
ProducerBob Thiele
John Coltrane chronology
John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman
Live at Birdland
Professional ratings
Review scores
Down Beat
(Original Lp release)
5/5 stars[2]
AllMusic4/5 stars[3]
Down Beat
4/5 stars[4]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide5/5 stars[5]

Impressions is a 1963 album of live and studio recordings by jazz musician John Coltrane.

Music and recording[edit]

Tracks 1 and 3 were recorded live at the Village Vanguard in November 1961, while tracks 2 and 4 were recorded at Van Gelder Studio, respectively on September 18, 1962 and April 29, 1963. Track 5, "Dear Old Stockholm" did not appear on the original release, but appears on later reissues. The album was originally released in 1963 on the Impulse! label.

The studio tracks were performed by the classic Coltrane quartet (pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones), who are joined by saxophonist Eric Dolphy and bassist Reggie Workman on the tracks recorded live at the Village Vanguard. Dolphy contributes a long bass clarinet solo on "India", but lays out on all but the final chord of "Impressions". Workman plays only on "India", joining Garrison in approximating the droning sound of Indian classical music.

Tyner takes his only solo on the bonus track, "Dear Old Stockholm". He is barely audible on the two Village Vanguard tracks, and lays out entirely on "Up 'Gainst the Wall".[citation needed] Drummer Roy Haynes replaces Elvin Jones on "After the Rain" and "Dear Old Stockholm" (which were each recorded at the same April 1963 studio session). The title track features nearly fifteen minutes of Coltrane's soloing.

The music reflects Coltrane's evolving emotional and musical range, where he explores jazz modality, the music of India, the blues, and a traditional Swedish folk song (this last track was not included on the original 1963 album, but appeared first on a 1965 compilation released by Impulse![6] and is on the current—as of year 2000—CD release of Impressions as a bonus song). The eclecticism is to be expected; the album amounts ultimately to a compilation of three years of oddments.


Down Beat magazine critic Harvey Pekar summed up the album in his five-star review of August 29, 1963 writing "Not all the music on this album is excellent (which is what a five-star rating signifies,) but some is more than excellent."[2]

Influence on popular music[edit]

According to Roger McGuinn, while touring in late 1965, the rock band the Byrds had only a single cassette recording to listen to on the tour bus, with Ravi Shankar on one side and Coltrane's Impressions and Africa/Brass on the other: "We played that damn thing 50 or 100 times, through a Fender amplifier that was plugged into an alternator in the car."[7] The result was the recording of the single "Eight Miles High", acknowledged by the band as a direct homage to Coltrane, and to "India" on Impressions in particular.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by John Coltrane except where noted.

  1. "India" – 14:10
  2. "Up 'Gainst the Wall" – 3:17
  3. "Impressions" – 15:06
  4. "After the Rain" – 4:07

Bonus track first released on the 1964 LP, The Definitive Jazz Scene Volume 2, (Impulse AS-100) and on the 2000 Impressions CD reissue.

  1. "Dear Old Stockholm" (Stan Getz, Traditional) – 10:38





  1. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (1963). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.
  2. ^ a b Down Beat: August 29, 1963 Vol. 30, No.24
  3. ^ Impressions at AllMusic
  4. ^ Dec. 2000, p.94 – reissue
  5. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 46. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Jim McGuinn quoted in Eight Miles High by Richie Unterberger