Q - 10/00, p.1393 stars out of 5
- "...Uplifting....he redefined what passed for both melody and musical structure..."
Down Beat - 12/00, p.944 stars out of 5
- "...[This] seems to have something for everyone. Transitional Trane, for sure."
Personnel: John Coltrane (soprano & tenor saxophones); Eric Dolphy (bass clarinet); McCoy Tyner (piano); Reggie Workman, Jimmy Garrison (bass); Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes (drums).
Producer: Bob Thiele.
Reissue producer: Bryan Koniarz.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on September 18, 1962 and April 29, 1963 and live at the Village Vanguard, New York, New York on November 3, 1961. Originally released on Impulse (42). Includes liner notes by Bill Kirchner.
Digitally remastered using 20-bit technology by Kevin Reeves (Universal Mastering Studios-East).
Personnel: John Coltrane (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Eric Dolphy (bass clarinet, alto saxophone); McCoy Tyner (piano); Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes (drums).
Recording information: Van Gelder Recording Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (11/03/1961-04/29/1963); Village Vanguard, New York, NY (11/03/1961-04/29/1963).
Photographers: Joe Alper; Chuck Stewart.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Elvin Jones; Jimmy Garrison; Reggie Workman.
One of John Coltrane's most popular, influential recitals, IMPRESSIONS derives its two extended blowing tracks from the saxophonist's famous November 5, 1961 gig at New York's Village Vanguard. The brief, charming blues and ballad were recorded in the fall of 1962 and the spring of 1963, respectively. On IMPRESSIONS Coltrane acknowledged his roots, while striking out in new directions.
The live version of "India," featuring dual bassists (Reggie Workman and Jimmy Garrison) and reed innovator Eric Dolphy (a regular member of the group in 1961-62), was an enormously influential work both in and out of the jazz community. Roger McGuinn of The Byrds often cited it as the inspiration for "Eight Miles High," and the vocalized, near-eastern overtones of Coltrane and Dolphy as the stimulus for his use of a heavily amplified 12-string guitar.
It doesn't take much of an imaginative leap to see why. Coltrane was enchanted by the harmonic simplicity and melodic/rhythmic complexity of his new modality, and the bassists essay a moaning melodic backbeat, as Elvin Jones doubles up with a serpentine cymbal pulse. Coltrane pivots off of one note with reedy soprano testimonies that tease Jones into multiple climaxes, while Dolphy's rocking bass clarinet ragas amplify the melodic tension between the horns and the hypnotic repetition of the rhythm.
"Impressions" is an affectionate uptempo nod to his earlier modal flights with Miles Davis, and it is clear from Jimmy Garrison's comanding pulse on this tune that Trane had found his bassist. Coltrane's new conception freed up rhythm sections from their metronomic duties of the past, so Garrison and Elvin respond to Trane's string of short phrases and torrid cries with a loose, counterpunching brand of conversational 4/4. Garrison's ability to move seamlessly between vamp and swing beats, his innate sense of form on non-metric materials, allowed the quartet to abandon strict timekeeping in favor of a freely breathing pulse. Jazz would never be the same.