Thursday, February 09, 2012

John Coltrane Quintet - Birdland, New York, NY - February 9, 1962

This is an important show in the world of John Coltrane, consisting of what may have been his ultimate early-60s line-up. In addition to Coltrane on tenor and soprano saxes we have Eric Dolphy on alto sax, bass clarinet and flute, pianist McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on the drums.

These recordings exist in a variety of combinations across multiple releases. The three songs performed are listed in a different order in pretty much every instance. The dates are often funky, too, as the show was billed as a February 9 date but the set was performed (or broadcast on the radio, the source for the releases mentioned above) after midnight, on the tenth.

No matter. These are powerful performances. The rendition of "My Favorite Things" is frequently cited by online commentators as one of the best. This is a difficult designation to bestow or concur with given the sheer number of times Coltrane performed the piece. This is a great take with forceful soloing.

Is it also possible that this set contains the first performance of "Mr. P.C.", which was on Giant Steps, two years prior? It's a scorching take, with some dynamite piano work from McCoy Tyner and intense horn work by Coltrane and Dolphy. It had to be intense in that room...

The other track performed that night was the one called "Miles' Mode" when performed by a Coltrane band and "The Red Planet" when a Dolphy group. Garrison's bass work is especially worth focusing on. He's a rock.

One released version of this show, containing the tracks from the same venue a week later, can be streamed here.