Transition (John Coltrane album)

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Transition (John Coltrane album).jpeg
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 1970[1]
RecordedMay 26 & June 10, 1965
StudioVan Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
GenreAvant-garde jazz
ProducerAlice Coltrane
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[2]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide5/5 stars[3]

Transition is an album of music by jazz saxophonist John Coltrane, recorded in 1965 but released posthumously only in 1970. As its title indicates, Transition was a bridge between classic quartet recordings like A Love Supreme and the more experimental works of Coltrane's last years. For some reason, Impulse! decided to alter the track listing of the original album on the CD edition, removing "Dear Lord" and replacing it with two pieces originally released on Kulu Sé Mama "Welcome" and "Vigil". However, the 2001 Japanese edition restored the original track listing.

Coltrane's playing alternates between blues idioms and the free jazz that would dominate his final work. Of the four musicians on this album, pianist McCoy Tyner was still the most grounded in traditional jazz. Bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones were finding new ways to approach their instruments, while Coltrane took the lead with a newfound musical freedom.

Transition's title track is a fifteen-minute modified blues, whilst "Dear Lord" is a ballad featuring Roy Haynes substituting for Jones on drums. "Welcome," which replaces "Dear Lord" on the album's compact disc release, is a five-minute ballad with a theme pitched high in the tenor saxophone's altissimo register and making extensive use of multiphonics. The closing "Suite" is a twenty-minute performance, covering a variety of moods. "Vigil", which concludes the CD release of the album, is a fiery duet between Coltrane and Jones.

Three months after this recording, Coltrane's quartet moved further into experimental territory with the album Sun Ship.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Transition" – 15:31
  2. "Dear Lord" – 5:32
  3. "Suite" (Prayer and Meditation: Day, Peace and After, Prayer and Meditation: Evening, Affirmation, Prayer and Meditation: 4 A.M.) – 21:20

Recorded on May 26 (#2) and June 10 (#1, 3), 1965. "Dear Lord" would be moved to the CD issue of Dear Old Stockholm with the rest of the sessions from that LP.

1993 CD[edit]

  1. "Transition" – 15:31
  2. "Welcome" – 5:34
  3. "Suite" (Prayer and Meditation: Day, Peace and After, Prayer and Meditation: Evening, Affirmation, Prayer and Meditation: 4 A.M.) – 21:20
  4. "Vigil" – 9:51

CD track 2 and 4 not part of original LP.



  1. ^ The Story of Impulse Records, pag. 237
  2. ^ Scott Yanow. "Transition Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
  3. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 47. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.