1961 album. Jazz.
‘Africa/Bass’ was the eight studio album by the American saxophonist and jazz virtuoso John Coltrane and his debut on the Impulse label. This 1961 Impulse album was particularly notable for Coltrane’s use of the expanded sound provided by a ‘big band’ with trumpets, trombone, baritone sax, Eric Dolphy’s bass clarinet and flute, and (most unusually) French horns, euphonium and tuba. Overlaying this backing is one of Coltrane’s great quartets with Messrs. Tyner (who, with Dolphy, did the arranging), Workman and Jones. The album’s centrepiece is the extended Coltrane composition, ‘Africa’. The tune’s luscious arrangement provides hints of Ellington, Gil Evans and even Charles Mingus in the brass harmonics and ensemble dynamism that Coltrane man ages to coax from these players.
Elsewhere, the other Coltrane original, ‘Blues Minor’, provides another trademark blast of tenor pyrotechnics from the man who hardly lets up for the tune’s seven-and-a-half minutes. By comparison, Coltrane’s version of Greensleeves is a relatively restrained affair, in effect, mimicking the man’s superlative version of My Favourite Things recorded the previous year, with its jaunty soprano sax theme, but given an added dimension with its ‘big band’ accompaniment. Finally, there’s ‘Song Of The Underground’, a traditional song recorded at the same session and included here as a bonus track.
All tracks orchestrated and conducted by Eric Dolphy. John Coltrane - tenor & soprano sax; McCoy Tyner - piano, Jimmy Garrison - bass: Elvin Jones - drums; Plus: Booker Little, Freddie Hubbard, Julian Priester, Eric Dolphy, Paul Chambers, Art Davis, and others, Recorded May and June 1961.
Tracks: Africa / Greensleeves / Blues Minor / Song Of The Underground Railroad