May 25, 2024

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Electrifying Track: Traneing In, from John Coltrane’s third studio album as a leader: Photo covers, Video

From time to time, I intend to focus on a single track that I find electrifying and represents a definitive work by a significant jazz artist.

The purpose of such a narrow focus is to separate one song from an artist’s body of work, put it in context with the time in which it was released, and offer a gateway into an artist’s discography for those who may be less familiar with him or her. For those who are familiar, it will likely be a track you’ve forgotten about.

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The first “electrifying track” in this series is Traneing In, from John Coltrane’s third studio album as a leader—John Coltrane with the Red Garland Trio (Prestige). The album was renamed Traneing Inin 1961 and given a new cover with Coltrane’s image. I’m guessing the decision by Prestige had everything to do with Coltrane’s move to Impulse Records and his higher commercial visibility. Frankly, the original album-cover graphic didn’t make much sense.

Recorded on August 23, 1957, the track features Coltrane (ts), Red Garland (p), Paul Chambers (b) and Art Taylor (d).

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What makes this original blues by Coltrane special is the way in which Garland digs in with block chords during the lengthy opening, which lasts 3:33. It’s some of the finest assertive blues piano you’ll ever hear. Coltrane’s playing here is particularly muscular and decisive, and it features an early use of his “sheets of sound” technique while soloing. Chambers’s bass solo shows off his powerful hand and lyrical lines while Taylor’s drums are spry and sharp. Garland’s outro solo is equally spectacular.

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If ever a saxophonist announced to the jazz world that a new player was in town, Coltrane did so on this track. And the trio was there with him the entire way. Makes my hairs stand up on end each time I hear it.

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