Personnel: John Coltrane (soprano & tenor saxophones); McCoy Tyner (piano);
Jimmy Garrison (bass); Elvin Jones (drums).
Recorded live in Europe in November 1962. Includes liner notes by Ed Michel.
Digitally remastered by Kirk Felton (Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
In the late Fifties critics condemned Coltrane for his "angry" sound and fans looked on him as the fly in the ointment of the Miles Davis Quintet. By 1962 there were still plenty of people who continued to find John Coltrane inscrutable. Seen from the present, however, his work at the time, as represented by these live recordings, seems downright mainstream. THE EUROPEAN TOUR was performed with his classic quartet of McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums.
Halfway between GIANT STEPS (1959), Coltrane's exploration into how far one could manipulate the idea of chord changes, and A LOVE SUPREME (1965), which offered the conclusion that one could dispense with them altogether, THE EUROPEAN TOUR finds Trane searching along not unfamiliar lines. The Billy Eckstine ballad "I Want To Talk About You" concludes with a liquid, unaccompanied cadenza of a few minutes' length; "Mr. P.C." gets the furthest out, with furious interplay between Trane and Jones. Tyner swings hard in his opening to "The Promise" and Coltrane's own "Naima" offers another look at this beautiful, post-bop ballad standard.