Album review: Blue World by John Coltrane
Blue World is an album of unreleased takes recorded by the John Coltrane Quartet at the height of their masterful jazz cohesion, made three weeks after their 1964 sessions that resulted in the creation of Crescent. In essence, it is a play on the old phrase — what’s old is new again.
Each track on the album is an older song from the Coltrane oeuvre, given new life by the quartet’s ever evolving sound. Songs like ‘Village Blues’ find their way onto the album, not once, nor twice but three times — each take a unique display of the quartet’s skill and the elasticity of each song. Ostensibly the same song, each take is looping and mesmerizing with its own variation on the rhythm, driving each version to a different place. ‘Traneing’ (previously released in 1958), spends a third of its seven minute runtime weaving through time with a meandering double bass line before the piano and drums jump in, making it completely different from the previous versions.
Blue World isn’t an album in the classic sense. The repetition and production values (grainy, not slick) discount that. But without adding to the Coltrane canon of music, it provides a glimpse into the growth of the quartet, enriching the narrative growth of their music.
– Andi Endruhn