Impressions (John Coltrane album)

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Impressions cover.jpg
Studio album / Live album by
ReleasedJuly 1963[1][2]
RecordedNovember 3, 1961; September 18, 1962 and April 29, 1963
VenueVillage Vanguard, New York City
StudioVan Gelder (Englewood Cliffs)
GenreAvant-garde jazz, post-bop, modal jazz
ProducerBob Thiele
John Coltrane chronology
Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane
Professional ratings
Review scores
Down Beat
(Original LP release)
Down Beat
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide[6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[7]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings [8]

Impressions is an album of live and studio recordings by jazz musician John Coltrane, released by Impulse! Records in July 1963.[1][2]

Music and recording[edit]

Tracks 1 and 3 were recorded live at the Village Vanguard in November 1961,[9] during the same residency that produced the seminal "Live" at the Village Vanguard album, while tracks 2 and 4 were recorded at Van Gelder Studio, respectively on September 18, 1962[10] and April 29, 1963.[11] Track 5, "Dear Old Stockholm," also recorded on April 29, 1963, did not appear on the original release, but appears on later reissues.[11] The album was originally released in 1963 on the Impulse! label.[12]

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.[13] Dolphy contributes a long bass clarinet solo on "India", but lays out on all but the final chord of "Impressions".[14] Workman plays only on "India", joining Garrison in approximating the droning sound of Indian classical music.[13][15][16]

Drummer Roy Haynes replaces Elvin Jones on "After the Rain" and "Dear Old Stockholm".[11] The title track features nearly fifteen minutes of Coltrane's soloing.[17]

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.[16] The eclecticism is to be expected; the album amounts ultimately to a compilation of three years of oddments.[18]


DownBeat 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."[4]

Influence on popular music[edit]

According to Roger McGuinn, while touring in late 1965, the rock band the Byrds had only a single tape 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."[19] 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.

In 2000 it was voted number 687 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.[20]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by John Coltrane except where noted.

Side 1
No.TitleRecording date and locationLength
1."India"November 3 1961, Village Vanguard14:10
2."Up 'Gainst the Wall"September 18 1962, Van Gelder Studio3:17
Side 2
No.TitleRecording date and locationLength
3."Impressions"November 3 1961, Village Vanguard15:06
4."After the Rain"April 29 1963, Van Gelder Studio4:07
CD reissue bonus track
No.TitleRecording date and locationLength
5."Dear Old Stockholm" (Stan Getz, Traditional)April 29 1963, Van Gelder Studio10:38





  1. ^ a b DeVito, Chris; Fujioka, Yasuhiro; Schmaler, Wolf; Wild, David (2013). Porter, Lewis (ed.). The John Coltrane Reference. New York/Abingdon: Routledge. p. 623. ISBN 9780415634632. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b Editorial Staff, Cash Box (July 13, 1963). "Jazz Picks of the Week" (PDF). Cash Box. New York: The Cash Box Publishing Co. Inc. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  3. ^ Impressions at AllMusic
  4. ^ a b Down Beat: August 29, 1963 Vol. 30, No.24
  5. ^ Dec. 2000, p.94 – reissue
  6. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 46. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.
  8. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 287. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.
  9. ^ Porter, Lewis; DeVito, Chris; Fujioka, Yasuhiro; Wild, David; Schmaler, Wolf (2008). The John Coltrane Reference. Routledge. pp. 622–623.
  10. ^ Porter, Lewis; DeVito, Chris; Fujioka, Yasuhiro; Wild, David; Schmaler, Wolf (2008). The John Coltrane Reference. Routledge. p. 653.
  11. ^ a b c Porter, Lewis; DeVito, Chris; Fujioka, Yasuhiro; Wild, David; Schmaler, Wolf (2008). The John Coltrane Reference. Routledge. pp. 681–682.
  12. ^ "John Coltrane: Impressions: Releases". AllMusic. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  13. ^ a b "John Coltrane: Impressions". Jazz Disco. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  14. ^ Porter, Lewis; DeVito, Chris; Fujioka, Yasuhiro; Wild, David; Schmaler, Wolf (2008). The John Coltrane Reference. Routledge. p. 622.
  15. ^ Ratliff, Ben (2007). Coltrane: The Story of a Sound. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 68.
  16. ^ a b Impressions (liner notes). John Coltrane. Impulse!. 2000. 314 543 416-2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  17. ^ Nisenson, Eric (2009). Ascension: John Coltrane And His Quest. Da Capo. p. 126.
  18. ^ Yanow, Scott. "John Coltrane: Impressions". AllMusic. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  19. ^ Jim McGuinn quoted in Eight Miles High by Richie Unterberger
  20. ^ Colin Larkin (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 222. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.