John Coltrane / Soultrane – The Original OJC Sucks

More of the Music of John Coltrane

Potentially Good Sounding OJC Pressings

Not Very Good Sounding OJC Pressings

The early OJC reissues of this title are awful, and whatever Heavy Vinyl they’re churning out these days is probably every bit as bad, but in the opposite way.

The OJC is thin and bright, and the modern reissue (I’m guessing, based on playing scores of them) is probably thick, veiled, overly smooth, lacking in space and boosted in the bass — because that’s the sound that audiophiles record buyers seem to like these days.

Without the excellent sounding ’60s and ’70s reissues that we are still able to find in audiophile playing condition, all that we would have available with which to do our shootouts would be the originals. At the big bucks those records go for nowadays, shootouts would simply be impossible.

So our thanks go to Rudy for doing a good job on these later pressings!

And brickbats to George Horn, who seems to be the guy who cut the original OJC pressings. We like a lot of his work, but in this case he’s let us down.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Good Bait
I Want To Talk About You

Side Two

You Say You Care
Theme For Ernie
Russian Lullaby

Pop Matters Review

First things first: let’s take it as read that this is a classic of the 20th century jazz canon and an essential point of reference in Coltrane’s own tumultuous career. 1958 found Coltrane recording for Prestige as a leader, having left Thelonious Monk’s quartet and before heading back to Miles Davis’ band to make history on Kind of Blue the following year. Here, he’s hunkered down with the Red Garland Trio (Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Arthur Taylor on drums), enjoying the easy interplay that had developed between the musicians over years of playing together, and taking the opportunity to throw out his newly-honed chops. Yes, this is the album on which Coltrane first emerged as the primary innovator of the jazz world, wielding an astonishing technical virtuosity and a blinding vision of the possibilities of the tenor sax.

… anyone who thinks Coltrane is all bluster and aggression would do well to hear “Theme for Ernie”, a plaintive and elegiac ballad written by Fred Lacy in memory of Ernie Henry, the alto saxophonist who died aged 31 in 1957. Here, Coltrane is pure emotion, displaying the same heartfelt intensity of feeling that would so often be mistaken for anger in his later years.

The rest of the album features some equally timeless performances: “I Want to Talk About You”, a classy Billy Eckstine ballad given an exhaustive 10-minute investigation; “You Say You Care”, a high-spirited, finger-snappin’ swinger; and — best of all — “Russian Lullaby”, a blistering, frenzied rendition of an Irving Berlin tune preformed at the very limits of up-tempo possibilities.

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