Olé! Here’s a great copy of a wonderful Coltrane album that we seriously enjoy but just don’t see enough to keep in our regular rotation. And that’s a shame, because these Top Copies are a THRILL to hear. Both sides give you an exceptionally strong bottom end, and with two bass players contributing on much of the album that is essential for this music. The overall sound is lively, dynamic, and very transparent.
The music is wonderful, with Coltrane in fine form backed by a stellar lineup that includes Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, an uncredited Eric Dolphy and more. Two of the three extended tracks feature two bass players, and a transparent copy like this one allows you to separate out the players and follow their contributions over the course of the songs.
Two days prior to the recording of Olé Coltrane, Coltrane had made his inaugural recording session for his new label, Impulse! Records, at the new Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. With one further album due his old label Atlantic, he brought in his working quintet along with two participants in the Africa/Brass sessions, Art Davis and Freddie Hubbard. Owing to his concurrent contract with Prestige Records, Eric Dolphy was listed on the credits under the pseudonym George Lane.
Coltrane’s interest in the music of Spain evident in “Olé”, may have been spurred by his ex-employer Miles Davis’s Sketches of Spain from the previous year. The structure and melody of the modal jazz vamp “Olé” was borrowed from the Spanish folk song El Vito (maybe better known as El Quinto Regimiento from the Spanish Civil War, which was made known by Pete Seeger), while the soprano saxophone work recalled 1961’s “My Favorite Things”. The titles for the songs on side two reflect the band’s continued interest in African forms as expressed on the May 23 Africa/Brass recordings.
AMG 4 Star Review
The complicated rhythm patterns and diverse sonic textures on Olé are evidence that John Coltrane was once again charting his own course. His sheer ability as a maverick — over and beyond his appreciable musical skills — guides works such as this to new levels, ultimately advancing the entire art form. Historically, it’s worth noting that recording had already commenced — two days prior to this session — on Africa/Brass, Coltrane’s debut for the burgeoning Impulse! label. The two discs complement each other, suggesting a shift in the larger scheme of Coltrane’s musical motifs.