Live at Birdland (John Coltrane album)

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Live at Birdland
Coltrane Live at Birdland.jpg
Studio album / Live album by
ReleasedJanuary 1964 (1964-01)
RecordedOctober 8, 1963 (#1-3)
Birdland, New York City
March 6, 1963 (#6, CD only)
November 18, 1963 (#4-5)
Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs
GenreJazz, post-bop
Length38:59 original LP
43:35 CD reissue
LabelImpulse! A-50
ProducerBob Thiele
John Coltrane chronology
John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman
(1963)
Live at Birdland
(1964)
Coltrane's Sound
(1964)

Live at Birdland is an album by jazz musician John Coltrane, released in January 1964 by Impulse! Records.[1][2][3] Despite its title, only the first three tracks were recorded live at the Birdland club; the rest are studio tracks. Among them is "Alabama", a tribute to four children killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, an attack at a Birmingham, Alabama church by white supremacists. The album's original pressing accidentally included a false start - this was corrected in later copies, but restored in CD editions. The album also features a live recording of "I Want to Talk About You", a song Coltrane had recorded on his 1958 album Soultrane, this time with an extended cadenza.

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic5/5 stars [4]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz3.5/4 stars[5]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide4/5 stars[6]

Reception[edit]

Scott Yanow's five-star AllMusic review calls the recording "[a]rguably John Coltrane's finest all-around album."[4] A review in All About Jazz states: "Coltrane Live at Birdland showcases 'The Great Quartet' in excellent form: Elvin banging and cursin', McCoy a steady force maintaining the form, Jimmy Garrison pacing the beat and Coltrane stretching out into space filling the void... A definite collectors' item."[7] Reviewer C. Michael Bailey wrote: "If the listener wishes to hear the master in transition, look no further than Coltrane Live at Birdland."[3] Leroi Jones wrote: "There is a daringly human quality to John Coltrane's music that makes itself felt, wherever he records. If you can hear, this music will make you think of a lot of weird and wonderful things. You might even become one of them."[8]

Regarding the track "Alabama," Ben Ratliff wrote: "It is a striking piece of music. If anyone wants to begin to understand how Coltrane could inspire so much awe so quickly, the reason is probably inside 'Alabama.' The incantational tumult he could raise in a long improvisation, the steel-trap knowledge of harmony, the writing — that's all very impressive. But 'Alabama' is also an accurate psychological portrait of a time, a complicated mood that nobody else could render so well."[9]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by John Coltrane except as indicated

  1. "Afro Blue" (Mongo Santamaria)  – 10:50
  2. "I Want to Talk About You" (Billy Eckstine)  – 8:11
  3. "The Promise" – 8:10
  4. "Alabama" – 5:09
  5. "Your Lady" – 6:39
Compact Disc bonus track
  1. "Vilia" – 4:36

"Vilia" is the main melodic statement to the Franz Lehár piece "Vivias", set to a swing feel and chord changes. This track was first released on a 1965 compilation by Impulse![10]

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ DeVito, Chris; Fujioka, Yasuhiro; Schmaler, Wolf; Wild, David (2013). Porter, Lewis (ed.). The John Coltrane Reference. New York/Abingdon: Routledge. p. 689. ISBN 978-1135112578.
  2. ^ Editorial Staff, Billboard (1 February 1964). "New Album Releases". Billboard. The Billboard Publishing Co. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  3. ^ a b Bailey, C. Michael. "John Coltrane: Live At Birdland". All About Jazz. Archived from the original on 6 August 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "John Coltrane Live at Birdland". AllMusic. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  5. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 289. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.
  6. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 47. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  7. ^ AAJ Staff (June 1, 1997). "John Coltrane: Coltrane Live at Birdland". All About Jazz. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  8. ^ Jones, Leroi (2010). Black Music. Akashi Classics. p. 66.
  9. ^ Ratliff, Ben (2007). Coltrane: The Story of a Sound. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 86.
  10. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Various-The-Definitive-Jazz-Scene-Volume-3/release/707281