Following the release of A LOVE SUPREME, John Coltrane entered upon a year of furious creation, including such shamanistic works as ASCENSION and MEDITATIONS. While many of his old fans couldn't make the leap of faith required for a sojourn into Coltrane's emotive new sound, those who surrendered to the psychedelic interplay of his classic quartet bore witness to spiritual transformations of enduring grandeur. Recorded August 26, 1965, SUN SHIP is one of Coltrane's most intense performances, and a testament to the maturity and resourcefulness of his rhythm section. With nearly four years of experience under their belt, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones had achieved a vital collective identity, yet each man was an innovator in his own right. When Coltrane evolved a metrically free style of rhythm and melody, the quartet's basic rhythmic pulse and style of collective interplay evolved accordingly. Bassist Garrison and drummer Jones are featured on "Ascent" and "Attaining", where they unveil bold new solutions for coming in and out of tempo and manipulating dynamics, while maintaining the amorphous ebb and flow of the pulse. The opening track, "Sun Ship" begins auspiciously with a splintered chanting theme--a call to arms, as it were. Garrison and Jones regroup dramatically around the leader's clarion calls, then rhythmically abstract the jazz pulse, moving away from strict tempos and linear swing, towards a furious implied pulse, as Tyner crafts a monumental solo full of crashing modulations and heated single lines. Trane re-enters at full tilt, alternating throttled upper register cries with crunching bass declamations, as the levitating rhythm boils around him. The gyrating, oceanic pulse of "Dearly Beloved" suggests earlier ballad explorations such as "Alabama", with Trane's keening tenor providing a taut melodic focus for the multi-layered, ritualistic rhythms surrounding him. Tyner's great waves of chords and contrary motion build to a surging climax, before Trane re-enters to bring them all home. And with "Amen", Trane announces a spare modal theme that evokes both a sense of the older swing and the new freedom. Garrison walks, then strums, surging forward, pulling backwards, elongating and elasticising the pulse, as Tyner essays swift, sweeping lines and rumbling chordal fanfares--a fervent prelude for Trane's perilous transformations.
- Sun Ship
- Dearly Beloved