John Coltrane - Dakar (Rudy Van Gelder Remaster) (Music CD)
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Coltrane's full-bodied, percussive use of dual baritone saxophones, with a tenor saxophone filling out the bottom of the chord, reflects his interest in one of composer Sun Ra's favorite arranging devices. The African-inflected title tune, with its provocative minor vamp and swinging release, shows Coltrane very much under the spell of the Sun Ra Arkestra's greatest soloist, tenor man John Gilmore. The circuitous harmonies of producer Teddy Charles' "Route 4" also suggest Sun Ra's particular brand of tension and release, and inspire jagged jump choruses from pianist Mal Waldron and Coltrane.
Waldron's "Velvet Scene" inspires one of Coltrane's most poignant ballad performances, proving that for all his technical complexity, the tenor saxophonist could always warm up the house with a simple expressive melody. Elsewhere, a skanky "Cat Walk" and a steaming "Witches Pit" illustrate Coltrane's commanding blues vocabulary at varied tempos. On "Mary's Blues", Coltrane's preaching lines and searing upper register cries make for a lively tonal contrast, interspersed as they are between Cecil Payne's garrulous testimonies and Pepper Adams' dark levitations.
2. Mary's Blues
3. Route 4
4. Velvet Scene
5. Witches Pit
6. Cat Walk