Personnel: John Coltrane, Paul Quinichette (tenor saxophone); Mal Waldron (piano); Julian Euell (bass); Ed Thigpen (drums).
Paul Quinichette Quintet includes: Kenny Drew (piano); Freddie Green (guitar); Gene Ramsey (bass); Gus Johnson (drums).
Engineers include: Rudy Van Gelder.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on May 17, 1957 and at Beltone Studios, New York, New York on August 14, 1952. Originally released on Prestige (7158). Includes liner notes by Bob Snead.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1990, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
John Coltrane's earliest recordings for Prestige found him in the role of host to some excellent improvising saxophonists, modernists and classicists alike. At the same time as he engaged in these conservative blowing sessions, Trane was taking stock of himself as a composer and improviser. Trane felt the influence of Miles and Monk very keenly in 1957, and thenceforth there'd be a keen edge of discovery to his music.
Still, his blowing in more or less traditional contexts such as CATTIN' WITH COLTRANE AND QUINICHETTE embraces classic values, even as he strains to break free of the form. Coltrane is a gracious host, and often defers to Quinichette, letting the old master take the lead. But Trane gets his licks in. Listen to his subtle intervals behind Quinichette on the head to "Anatomy" (our old friend "All The Things You Are"), before launching into a rhythmically complex solo; then check out Quinichette's dulcet, witty response. Pianist Mal Waldron's solo is heroically laid back, building subtle melodic sandcastles without upsetting the groove. The closing exchanges are particularly sweet, as Trane pares down his phrasing to concentrate on the sweetest notes, and play to Quinichette's strengths.
The coy easygoing blues of "Cattin'" is driven along by Waldron's thoughtful orchestrations, a new suit of chords for each stylist--a Monkish comp behind Coltrane, languid nibbles and pecks for the elegant Quinichette. Drummer Ed Thigpen's buoyant intro launches the Basie-ish groove of "Sunday," a classic tenor battle. Quinichette floats through the theme on a turquoise cloud. Not for nothing was he known as the Vice-President, so sincere was his admiration for the Prez (Lester Young), although his rhythmic ideas aren't as sophisticated. Coltrane follows with uncharacteristic restraint, poking around for spaces to hide, then reemerges with hot flashes of melody, the ultimate expression of Coleman Hawkins' sheets of arpeggios.