John Coltrane with Red Garland Trio – Traneing In – Prestige

by | Feb 16, 2007 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

John Coltrane with Red Garland Trio – Traneing In – Prestige 30156-2 (1957), 37:51 ****:

(John Coltrane, tenor saxophone; Red Garland, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Arthur Taylor, drums)

The Rudy Van Gelder remasters are a special treat for a fledgling jazz fan like myself. Van Gelder’s digital remasters have the warm, groovy (as in vinyl grooves) sound of an old jazz record left in an attic for years. With the remaster of Coltrane’s session with the Red Garland Trio, his second album as a leader, I can imagine myself, pipe in mouth, sitting in an easy chair in 1957 listening to the sounds of one of the most talked about tenors.

Traneing In begins with its title track, an almost twelve-minute track in which Red Garland plays a long, spirited solo that teases around the theme that Coltrane will eventually burst into. At 2:42, Coltrane slides onstage with his trademark scale-running and endless melodic lines. The tone is unmistakable: bright, intense, and endlessly inspired.

While the style of playing is less uniquely Coltrane as some of his later works, you can’t help but smile at the genius evident even this early in his career. Chambers, another Miles Davis Quintet alum, lays down a funky bass line on the track that features fifteen seconds or so of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Garland’s second solo, all trills and gorgeous glissandos, provides a sophisticated cooldown before Coltrane comes back in.

At the beginning of Slow Dance, Chambers’ bass makes Arthur Taylor’s cymbals shiver, creating the fragile space for Coltrane’s lovely solos to ease in and out of. The first solo evokes images of rain on your car window as you drive through busy city streets. While urbane and sophisticated, Coltrane’s tone is never going to be as dry as a martini. His sound is big, even when it’s vulnerable. Garland’s first solo is wonderfully minimalist, his notes sounding like the high, quiet echoes of someone playing champagne glasses.

Coltrane displays an almost overwhelming tenderness on You Leave Me Breathless. At a certain point, you can hear his saxophone reed quiver with the force of his playing. His notes melt into each other, the high ones kept afloat by Garland’s trills and high notes. Garland’s first solo punches up the swing wonderfully by periodically playing on the downbeat to shift the rhythm of the song.

I think the RVG remasters sound like what jazz is supposed to sound like: rich, warm, and a little muddy, but should reveal that I haven’t compared them to earlier reissues. The feel captured by Van Gelder’s production helps restore classics like Traneing In.

TrackList: Traneing In, Bass Blues, Slow Dance, You Leave Me Breathless, Soft Lights and Sweet Music

– Daniel Krow

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