Home » ALBUM NOTES » John Coltrane Quartet, Nov. 17, 1962

This collection includes an extended variety of excerpts from the two concerts that John Coltrane gave with his quartet at the Paris Olympia on November 17, 1962.

In addition to the 3 tracks released on the album « The Paris Concert », John Coltrane Live In paris includes 85 additional and previously unreleased minutes of music performed by the quartet on that date : “Bye Bye Blackbird”, “Impressions”, ”My Favorite Things”, and alternate versions of « Mr. P.C. » and « Ev’ry time We Say Goodbye » . You can also hear Norman Granz introduction of the band, and appreciate the enthusiastic reaction of the Parisian jazz fans, a far cry from the way the musician was booed the first time he played in Paris, two years before.

 Review of the 3 tracks already issued on “The Paris Concert’”

With so much fantastic live Trane out there, it’s tough to recommend this one as a great one – because it’s not – but it’s still a good one, with lots of episodic interest and one of the greatest groups in all of jazz working through a good set of tunes. First up is a 26 minute version of « Mr. P.C. » where they state the theme and then Coltrane drops out for a really long time. Not that he’s the only reason to listen here, but still – Tyner solos first and sounds great, followed by an arco Garrison solo that switches to pizzicato. This takes up half the running length of the song. Then Jones comes in with a great solo until Trane returns on tenor at 18:38 and the group moves to the closing statement (though Tyner drops out for a while during Trane’s solo). All in all, I’d rather be hearing Coltrane more on this number. No disrespect is meant of course, but his name is on the marquee after all and when you’re 18 1/2 minutes into a piece without the headliner, you gotta wonder what’s up. Next piece is 10 minutes of « The Inch Worm » which is much more lively and energetic here than on Coltrane (the Impulse! album, that is). Trane is on soprano and the group plays as a unit throughout. It’s quite exciting, but the sound is worse than the first number and there is much dropout over the length of the piece. The album closes with a brief (4:48) « Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye » that’s mellow, pretty and features a fine Tyner solo as its most noticeable characteristic without much in the way of development and « taking things out » that this group is obviously capable of. Anyway, hardly the perfect collection, but still – when one of the four or five best groups in all of jazz is playing, you listen, you learn. Their worst moments smoke the best ones from many other bands – and this isn’t even the worst, just an odd selection of music given the excitement they can generate. If these three tracks were part of a larger full concert, I suspect they’d sound much better in that context.


French review of “The Paris Concert”

Ce concert fut enregistré à Paris courant 1962, c’est le pendant du « European tour » sorti chez PABLO à la même période. « The European tour » est le live idéal pour tout néophyte souhaitant aborder Coltrane en douceur puisqu’on passe en gradation des ballades « Naïma » et « I want to talk about you » au pilonnage afro de Elvin Jones sur « Mr P.C. ». « The Paris concert », lui, ne fait pas de quartier d’entrée de jeu. Un « Mr P.C. » -initiales de Paul Chambers, ancien bassiste de Coltrane comme chacun sait- de 26 mn où Jimmy Garrison et Elvin Jones y vont de leur solo, et Coltrane de clore l’affaire en soufflant crescendo par phrases hachées. Mais si « Mr P.C. » est un classique du répertoire coltranien pour faire monter la sauce à des tempos d’enfer, le meilleur est pour la suite.
« The inch worm »: Coltrane se survolte littéralement. Jouant sur un registre sur-aigü, il emmène avec lui un Elvin Jones déchaîné. Sur « Ev’ry time we say goodbye », cela se confirme, Coltrane est dans une période versatile. Comme une herbe folle et gracile, il se faufile à chaque occasion, créant des volutes ascensionnelles. A l’aise, sa créativité et sa formidable dextérité du moment font des émules et Mc Coy Tyner prend un plaisir dingue à pousser toujours plus loin sa main droite au bord du clavier. Tout va trop vite, tout est trop clair. On atteint avec ces extraits de concert la quintessence de Coltrane. Et dire que lors de sa première tournée en Europe il s’était fait copieusement sifflé par le public parisien!