John Coltrane – A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters ★★★★

John Coltrane Love SupremeImpulse Records

John Coltrane (ts), McCoy Tyner (p), Jimmy Garrison (b), Elvin Jones (d), plus Archie Shepp (ts) and Art Davis (b). Rec. 9 and 10 December 1964 and 26 July 1965

On 9 December 1964, Coltrane and his ‘Classic Quartet’ recorded A Love Supreme, which was certified Gold in 2001 for sales in excess of 500,000 copies. Far less known is that Coltrane, his classic quartet (with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones) and two additional musicians, tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp and bassist Art Davis, returned to the studio the next day to cut the opening part of the suite again. Although we got an impression of what went on during that second day with the release of two takes numbered 1 and 2 of ‘Acknowledgement’ on 2002’s A Love Supreme DeLuxe Edition, the complete picture of what happened – in other words all takes, overdubs and studio chatter – now become available on A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters, released to celebrate both the 50th anniversary of the recording session and the 60th anniversary of the Verve label, with myriad back catalogue releases, digital exclusives and box sets promised through to the end of 2016.

Ashley Khan, who wrote the liner notes of the DeLuxe Edition, once again writes some fine liner notes for The Complete Masters and there is a personal introduction to ‘A Love Supreme’ by Carlos Santana (for whom Khan recently ghosted his autobiography). There is additional information about the live set in Antibes but especially interesting is the iconography that has been unearthed especially for this release.

The question of what music has and hasn’t been released before gets a bit complicated, so bear with me. First, let’s make clear these comments apply to the 3CD set, since there is also an ‘economy’ 2CD set being released simultaneously just to muddy the waters. So, on the 3CD set, Disc 1 gives us the original stereo album as released on vinyl as Impulse! AS-77, which previously appeared on the DeLuxe Edition, plus two previously unreleased mono tracks: Part III ‘Pursuance’ and Part IV ‘Psalm’. These are from Coltrane’s own Mono Reference masters intended for his home consumption. Since they are the stereo tracks collapsed into mono they do not add to our knowledge of this piece. Disc 2 comprises eleven tracks in all, of which four tracks previously appeared on the DeLuxe Edition. These 11 tracks together account for all the surviving tracks from the two days Coltrane recorded A Love Supreme – the quartet on day one and the sextet on day two. From day one, the quartet session, the two alternative takes of ‘Resolution’ (take 4 alternate, the only other complete version other than the one that was released, and take 6 breakdown) previously appeared on the DeLuxe Edition and from this same quartet session we now have a further two vocal overdubs on ‘Acknowledgement’ (overdub 2 and overdub 3) and an undubbed version of ‘Psalm’ on The Complete Masters. The ‘Acknowledgement’ overdubs suggest Coltrane was experimenting with a thicker voice texture at the end; he finally decided to go with the first vocal overdub on the released track. The undubbed version of ‘Psalm’ has Coltrane playing one saxophone and missing the resolution (the released version contains a second horn – alto saxophone – and of course the all important resolution).

From the sextet session the following day, in other words, the ‘Classic Quartet’ plus Shepp and Davis, we previously had takes 1 and 2 of ‘Acknowledgement’ on the DeLuxe Edition, to which we now have take 3 (breakdown with studio chatter), take 4 (further alternate), take 5 (false start) and take 6 (further alternate) of the same piece – i.e. ‘Acknowledgement’ by the sextet. The whole of Disc 3, Coltrane’s only known live performance of ‘A Love Supreme’ performed at the Festival Mondial du Jazz Antibes on 26 July 1965, previously appeared on the DeLuxe Edition in 2002. Insofar as the ‘sextet’ session is concerned, The Complete Masters is the first time we have all six takes of ‘Acknowledgement,’ the opening section of the suite, in their entirety by the expanded group. It provides a window into how Coltrane allowed music to develop in the studio. Quite where he was heading with this particular piece we’ll never know, because the definitive version of ‘A Love Supreme’ is of course the ‘quartet’ version recorded the day before. But what we do get is a glimpse of his thinking using two saxophones that would ultimately be consolidated by the addition of Pharoah Sanders. In the first half of 1965, we see Coltrane’s playing become increasingly more outward bound (certainly the influence of Albert Ayler played at least a part in this) and after recording Ascension on 28 June 1965 with both Shepp and Sanders in the line-up (and, significantly Art Davis), Sanders joined Coltrane’s ensemble permanently in September 1965. Coltrane’s thinking about the inclusion of Art Davis in the ‘sextet’ recordings is less clear; certainly the expression of time becomes a little more ambiguous with two basses and possibly he was thinking ahead to a more abstract approach to time that was fulfilled when Rashied Ali replaced Elvin Jones and Alice Coltrane replaced McCoy Tyner, but that, as they say, is a whole other can of worms.

– Stuart Nicholson

Australian Jazz Album Round-up December 2015

A real contrast in musical styles is evident here, from the sax trio of Origami and its stories of Australia, to the adventurous leaning of Alister Spence, who continues to impress and finally the old master, Mike Nock teams up with the younger Laurence Pike, for some wonderful duo improvisations.

– Michael Prescott, Jazz Presenter 5MBS, Australia


Billy Tea To Burgers                          

Self Release ★★★

Adam Simmons (as, b cl), Howard Cairns (b, concertina), Hugh Harvey (d). Rec 20 December 2014

A sax led trio can be a daunting experience, a double CD even more so. However in this instance, Origami, led by altoist Adam Simmons has presented an extraordinary range of material over the 2 discs that comprise this set. Make no mistake; however, this album is Australian to its core. This stems from two tracks on the first disc, “Lunch At Niagara” and “Greggie”. In the first of these tracks, Simmons talks about a road trip from Melbourne to Gundagai over a persistent bass line from Cairns. It is engaging and strangely, bears repeated listening. The same can be said for the tale in “Greggie”, although here the only accompaniment to Simmons spoken word tale is the wonderful drumming from Harvey. You’d be hard pressed to find tales more Australian than these and they’re simply great!

In complete contrast two tracks feature an altogether different instrumentation and feel. With Howard Cairns on Concertina and Simmons on bass clarinet, “Mirage” and “Adios Alistair” create intense, almost sinister music. The remaining tracks feature strong melodic themes and superb, but very distinctive, alto from Simmons. Whilst disc one contains nine tracks, the second disc is comprised of a single 58 minute track, “Here And There”. Within this track the group cover an enormous range of styles and in all available configurations. In some ways it is reminiscent of The Necks, without the repetition. It does, however, ebb and flow constantly thus not only holding one’s attention over the course of the track, but more, it becomes thoroughly compelling. This is one fine album, one that has been on “repeat” for a while now. ‘Nuff said.

Info & samples:  

SpenceAlister Spence Trio


Self Release through Rufus Records ★★★

Alister Spence (p, samples, music box), Lloyd Swanton (bass), Toby Hall (d, glockenspiel) Rec. 20 March 2015.

Following on from his duo album with Myra Melford “Everything Here Is Possible”, Spence continues apace with his exploration of the modern jazz form. Although a live album, comprising mostly of tracks featured on 2012’s “Far Flung”, (even the cover art harks back to that album) it is in reality a further step in this engrossing search. With the same musicians and instrumentation as the aforesaid album, this recording finds the trio in stunning form. Spence has said that he has been looking for a live performance worthy of release and in this gig, recorded at the Sydney jazz co-operative, SIMA, he has found a gem. The opening track “Radium”, from 2009’s “Fit” sets the pace with a different take on the studio version, oddly, if anything, more restrained, with greater emphasis on the jarring rhythm. From there the trio take lengthy excursions into Spence’s oeuvre, with “Felt” being a highlight with its somewhat modern opening and almost mainstream second half. The only new original, “Not Everything But Enough - Opening“ is centred around Hall’s glockenspiel and Spence’s liberal use of samples.  Throughout Swanton, of The Necks, anchors the music with consummate skill whilst Hall never seems to run out of differing percussive colours. The glockenspiel is very effectively utilised to provide both rhythmic and tonal contrast.

Info & samples:

NockMike Nock & Laurence Pike

Beginning And End Of Knowing                    

FWM Records ★★★

Mike Nock (p), Laurence Pike (perc) Rec 4, 5 March 2015

Nock, 75, one of Australia’s leading jazz musicians for several decades, teams up with percussionist Pike, 36, for a series of spontaneous improvisations in a follow up to their first collaboration, 2012’s “Kindred”. On this occasion a government grant to Pike meant the pair could travel to Oslo and record at Jan Erik Kongshaug's Rainbow Studios, where Nock recorded for ECM many years ago. The trip was at Pike’s request as he has long harboured a love of the studio and the ECM sound. Once in the studio the pair recorded hours of improvised music and the resulting CD is a distillation of their efforts. Whilst there have been duo recording with this instrumentation in the past, it’s not often that have they reached the heights of this recording. Nock’s sometimes simple but beautiful flourishes are complimented by Pike’s ability to utilise every possibility from his drum kit. None of the twelve tracks are long, just one is in excess of five minutes and this seems to concentrate the inventiveness and makes each track a cohesive whole. Nock and Pike appear to have an almost intuitive understanding of each other’s playing and together they have created a very fine album and one that bears repeated listening.

Rha Stranges – Multidirectional ★★★

Perfect Star Records
Rha Stranges (d), Gianni Lenoci (p), Gaetano Partipilo (as, ss), Pietro Rosato (bc, ts, ss), Francesco Angiuli (b), Jamie Leeming (g) + guest Filippo Lattanzi (marimba). Rec. date not stated

This recording from London-based drummer Rha Stranges showcases a feisty Italian septet playing some crisp and captivating new tunes, the majority of which were written and arranged by Stranges. ‘Fly Far Away from You’ expounds on a lively riff pitting horn players Gaetano Partipilo and Pietro Rosato against each other an octave apart, and allowing space for a long duo section between piano and drums at the close. ‘The White Link between You and Me’ contains a whiff of Secret Love in the melody underpinned by a tightly drawn bass vamp played by Francesco Angiuli, which stretches a taut canvas for guitar, alto and tenor to weave in and out of each other. Pianist Gianni Lenoci then claims centre-stage and offers splashes of arpeggiated colour and bluesy clips before roving around freely over a welter of high notes. Rosato brings the tune back in on bass clarinet and builds a delectable lower line to let the thing run its course. ‘I Love You So!’ hints at a likely inspiration for this album - Rha’s wife Lucia - and this serenade certainly captures the fervour of his esteem, beginning with some passionate solo piano and then handing over the task of laying down a very pretty melody to bass clarinet, sax and guitar.

I loved ‘For the 4th Time, Chicken!’, a cheeky call and response fusion-y number, where the musicians enjoy chasing each other’s tails, Stranges articulating the frisky energy with his usual deft assurance. There is an epic solo from Lenoci on a prepared piano, the horns chipping in as a pack, switching the time feel and building into a pleasing a cappella moment, before the tenor heads off with a lovely lyrical tour through the changes. Guitarist Jamie Leeming then lifts the sound to a whole new level, his effect pedal producing a distant 70s vibe, only to be pulled back sharply to the present with a spiky shout chorus of sorts, cuing up a hugely inventive drum solo from Stranges, and ending with a quirky cadenza on tenor sax.

I was not sure about the track ‘The Moon and Her Son’ the first time I heard it, as the guitar has a strange distorted African sound as if it’s played on some kind of homemade instrument, but the tune is catchy and memorable, and really digs in when the horns and rest of the rhythm section join to create a feature spot for Filippo Lattanzi on marimba, as the thing develops a lovely languid 12/8 feel. Despite the title, I got a lot more from the next track, ‘Quello Che Non Ho Capito Del Jazz’, and enjoyed its refusal to colour within the lines. The band clearly likes incorporating a range of musical genres, as evidenced by Leeming’s rearrangement of Bob Dylan’s classic on ‘The Man With the Tambourine’, which takes the album momentarily into a more soulful country zone. The album concludes with ‘Afrika Metropolitaine’, a fabulous tune by Lenoci, which begins with low piano rumblings and frantic riffs signifying a more troubling and less pastoral sonic landscape. This final blast of free and infectious energy, with Stranges holding the fort with a fast straight ahead feel, shows the band at their best, charting unknown territory and, as the album title suggests, flying off creatively in many directions.    

- Sarah Chaplin

Animation – Machine Language ★★★★

Bob Belden (ss, fl), Kurt Elling (voice), Peter Clagett (t), Roberto Verastegui (kys), Bill Laswell (b) and Matt Young (d). Rec. date not stated

This ambitious production by Bob Belden with his group Animation, plus guests Kurt Elling and Bill Laswell (probably the first and last time they will ever appear on the same album), turned out to be his Parthian shot before his untimely death on 20 May this year. Belden was something of a Renaissance man, astonishingly well read, a film buff par excellence, a composer, arranger, producer and A&R man who possessed an unparalleled knowledge of jazz.

Thus it comes as no surprise to learn that this project draws inspiration from sources both literary (Philip K. Dick, Iain M. Banks), and musical (Miles Davis’ Get Up With It, Big Fun and In a Silent Way) all woven into a dense musical mix that has elements of ambient and drum’n’bass swirling through it. It is framed within a narrative arc written by Belden and narrated convincingly by Elling that describes the evolution over time of the relationship between the human mind and artificial intelligence. Over 12 tracks this relationship is developed from ‘A Child’s Dream’ ending with ‘A Machine’s Dream’.

In part inscrutable, in part inspired, Belden tantalisingly leaves the dialectic unresolved save for the postlude: ‘the only constant is the universal power of imagination, which transcends all distinctions’. Well done RareNoise for giving him the canvas on which to paint this picture when others were daunted by the sheer breadth of his imagination. He will be missed.

– Stuart Nicholson

Jazzwise October 2015 Issue Albums Reviewed List

All these albums are reviewed in the October 2015 issue of Jazzwise which is out now – to read them all click here to subscribe and get a FANTASTIC FREE CD


Animation Machine Language RareNoiseRecords

Daymé Arocena Nueva Era Brownswood Recordings

Stefano Battaglia Trio In The Morning ECM

Birmingham Jazz Orchestra Burns

Paul Booth Patchwork Project (Vol.1) Pathway Records

Zack Brock Serendipity Criss Cross Jazz

Liane Carroll Seaside Linn Records

Jon Cleary GoGo Juice FHQ

Eliane Correa & En El Aire Project Rumba con Flores Cezanne Productions

Elephant9 with Reine Fiske Silver Mountain Rune Grammofon

John Fedchock New York Big Band Like It Is Mama Records

Sammy Figueroa Imaginary World Savant

Mitchel Forman Trio Puzzle BFM Jazz

Funk Off Things Change Jando

Paolo Fresu & Daniele di Bonaventura In Maggiore ECM

Jacob Garchik Ye Olde Yestereve Records

Get the Blessing Astronautilus Naim

Girls In Airports Fables Edition Records

Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra Into Forever Gondwana Records

Joel Harrison 5 Spirit House Whirlwind Recordings

Bruno Heinen & Kristian Borring Postcard to Bill Evans Babel

Wayne Horvitz Some Places are Forever Afternoon Songlines

Michael Janisch Paradigm Shift Whirlwind Recordings

Ochion Jewell VOLK Self-released

Henry Kaiser/Ray Russell The Celestial Squid Cuneiform

Rob Mazurek/Exploding Star Orchestra Galactic Parables: Volume 1 Cuneiform

Colin Towns Mask Orchestra Drama Provocateur

Christian McBride Trio Live At The Village Vanguard Mack Avenue

Metheny/Garbarek/ Burton/Colley/Gottlieb/ McCandless/SWR Big Band Hommage á Eberhard Weber ECM

Cæcilie Norby and Lars Danielsson Just The Two Of Us ACT

Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci & Brian Blade Children of the Light Mack Avenue

Enrico Rava Quartet with Gianluca Petrella Wild Dance ECM

Fulvia Sigurtà The Oldest Living Thing Camjazz

Shatner’s Bassoon The Self Titled Album: Shansa Barsnaan Wasp Millionaire

Simians of Swing Simians of Swing Coffee and Apple Records

Sine Qua Non Serge Gainsbourg Re-Imagined Coup Perdu

Smadj Spleen Jazz Village/Harmonia Mundi

Sokratis Sinopoulos Eight Winds ECM

St Germain Real Blues Parlophone

Steve Smith and Vital Information NYC Edition Viewpoint

Geir Sundstøl Furulund Hubro HUBROCD2533

Jimi Tenor & UMO Mysterium Magnum Herakles

Various Artists The ACT Man: Siggi Loch – A Life in the Spirit of Jazz ACT

Vula Viel Good is Good Vula Viel Records



Howard Alden & Tony Barnard If Kangaroos Could Dance Bondi Shed Productions

The Amazing Keystone Orchestra Peter and the Wolf & Jazz Le Chante de Monde

Dave Betts Quintet These Times

Nick Finzer The Chase Origin Records

Erik Friedlander Timeless Suite ACT

Gilad Hekselman Homes Jazz Village

Pawel Kaczmarczyk Audiofeeling Trio Something Personal Hevhetia

Shai Maestro Untold Stories Continuite Du Torrent

Marco Marconi Trio Nordik 33Records

Mimika A Place a Glowing Red World Local Records

Mural Tempo Sofa


Najee You,Me and Forever Shanachie

Klaus Paier & Asja Valcic Timeless Suite ACT

Dominique Pifarely Time Before and Time After ECM

Schnellertollermeier X Cuneiform

The Sorcerers The Sorcerers ATA

Omri Ziegele Billiger Bauer So Viel Schon Hin 15 Herbstlieder Intakt

Zrazy Dream On Alfi



Mose Allison Transfiguration of Hiram Brown/Creek Bank/ I Love The Life I Live/V-8 Ford Blues/Young Man Mose Avid Entertainment

Gene Ammons’ All Stars Complete Recordings With Jackie Mclean & Mal Waldron Fresh Sounds


Chet Baker Quartet Live In France 1978 Domino

Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers Complete Recordings Essential Jazz Classics

Lou Donaldson Midnight Sun/Blues Walk DreamCovers

Bill Evans With Don Elliott & Jerry Wald Solar

Tubby Hayes and the Downbeat Big Band Blues at the Manor 1959-1960 Acrobat Music

Billie Holiday Lady Love: Live in Basel 1954 Poll Winners Records

Wynton Kelly Four Classic Albums AvidJazz

The Modern Jazz Disciples Complete Recordings Fresh Sounds

Gerry Mulligan, Paul Desmond and the Dave Brubeck Trio The Complete 1972 Berlin Jazz Concert Domino Recordings

Bobby Shew Live 1983

Georgie Fame The Whole World’s Shaking Complete Recordings 1963-1966 Universal/Polydor

Aki Takase The First Years In Europe Enja

Various Artists Queens of Vocal Jazz One Records

Various Artists Turtle Records Pioneering British Jazz 1970-1971

Dinah Washington Back to the Blues Poll Winners Records



Bobby Bradford and John Carter Quintet No U-Turn – Live in Pasadena 1971 Dark Tree

Wild Bill Davison The Jazz Giants Sackville

Bunk Johnson Rare and Unissued Masters Vol.1 (1943-45) American Music

Modern Jazz Quartet The Modern Jazz Quartet Poll Winners

Duke Ellington The Treasury Shows Vol.19 Storyville


Modern Jazz Quartet The Comedy / Lonely Woman Essential Jazz Classics

Ella Fitzgerald Rhythm Is Our Business Essential Jazz Classics

Benny Goodman Rattle and Roll Chant Du Monde

Urbie Green The Complete Persuasive Trombone Phono

Vince Guaraldi Vince Guaraldi Trio / A Flower is a Lovesome Thing Poll Winners

Percy Humphrey And the New Orleans Joymakers GHB

Rita Reys The Cool Voice of… Fresh Sound

Mavis Rivers The Capitol Years 1959-60 Fresh Sound

Nina Simone Forbidden Fruit / Nina’s Choice Essential Jazz Classic

Hal Stein / Warren Fitzgerald Quintet Hal Stein & Warren Fitzgerald Fresh Sound

Various Artists Famous Door Ace Guitarists Progressive

Barney Wilen 1954-1961 Fremeaux

Lem Winchester Four Classic Albums Avid

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