Coltrane, John - Ralph Gleason's Jazz Casual: John Coltrane

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Rhino
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: DVD
Total Time: 23:00:00

This is the only known video performance of John Coltrane's classic quartet made in America. Revived from Ralph Gleason's 1960s series Jazz Casual archives and produced for public television, this DVD captures a 30-minute performance in black and white.

Gleason was a highly acclaimed journalist and jazz expert. Coltrane liked him and trusted him; hence, he was able to convince the elusive Coltrane into performing on the show.

I could not help but think of a '60s television show that my parents watched called "Earl Pudning [I think that was his name] and his Orchestra Show," with those crazy Red Rose Tea commercials with the monkey playing drums. No, I am not crazy, this is a long time ago but some of you will remember those days.

This is not your typical lavish in-color modern day production it was originally shot in 1963, so keep that in mind as you read.

It was interesting watching the shadows of the overhead microphones move around on the wall surrounding the band. Depending on what angle they were shooting Coltrane, you could also see one of the camera operators in the background. The quality of sound and the film is very good; clearly, a good transfer of the original recording contributed in making this DVD such a wonderful experience.

This performance was a snapshot of a legend that was well into an established career. Much like his mentor Miles Davis, he surrounded himself with other stars that could play on his level. McCoy Tyner (Piano), Jimmy Garrison (Bass) and Elvin Jones (Drums) were the flames that made his music into a roaring fire. If you watch Garrison play bass, it illustrates the concentration and effort that was necessary to play Coltrane's compositions. Garrison played the standup bass like it was an extension of his body, he always had his eyes closed with sweat pouring off his brow profusely while he stayed in sync with the other half of the rhythm section Elvin Jones. McCoy Tyner was a joy to witness playing the piano. Some close-ups show that he had incredible hands with long nimble fingers that manipulated the keys to his liking. Coltrane was an amazing multi saxophone player; the man was a wonder and a true innovator and pioneer of the jazz idiom.

"Impressions" lived up to its name, painting a beautiful picture in your minds eye with the rich tones and color taken from the varied palette of jazz. It also was a close up look at each individual member of the band. Each musician has an opportunity to go on a solo flight while Coltrane steps to the side for a while. There is plenty of attention focused on the star of the show so the viewer gets the best of each musician in three compositions. In three tracks, you come to understand why this quartet was important to jazz music and why music is one of the ultimate forms of artistic expression.

Afro Blue / Alabama / Impressions

John Coltrane ? saxophones
McCoy Tyner ? piano
Jimmy Garrison ? bass
Elvin Jones ? drums

Selected discography (for complete, see the Coltrane site)
Interplay For 2 Trumpets And 2 Tenors (1957)
Cattin' With Coltrane And Quinichette (1957)
Coltrane (1957)
Lush Life (1957)
The Last Trane (1957)
Blue Train (1957)
Soultrane (1958)
Dial Africa (1958)
Settin' The Pace (1958)
Giant Steps (1959)
The Avant-Garde (1960)
Coltrane Plays The Blues (1960)
Coltrane's Sound (1960)
My Favorite Things (1960)
Coltrane Jazz (1960)
Africa/Brass (1961)
Ol? Coltrane (1961)
Live At The Village Vanguard (1961)
Impressions (1961)
Newport '63 (1963)
Bye Bye Blackbird (1962)
John Coltrane And Johnny Hartman (1963)
Live At Birdland (1963)
Live At The Half Note (1963)
A Love Supreme (1964)
Stellar Regions (1967)
(plus tons more, plus session work)

Genre: Jazz-Trad. Jazz

Origin US

Added: February 23rd 2003
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
Artist website:
Hits: 898
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]