Something for Coltrane fans

ColtraneJohn Coltrane fans have something to be excited about: So Many Things, the European Tour 1961 features 300 minutes of music on 4 CDs.

“There are so many things to be considered in making music,” John Coltrane told an interviewer during his first European tour as a bandleader in the autumn of 1961. “Many things on which I don’t think I’ve reached a final conclusion.”

Indeed, the music Coltrane made on this trip took audiences to the very cutting edge, leaving many questions unanswered, even for the saxophonists most ardent fans.

For some he had taken the fundamentals of modern jazz to breaking point, thrusting it into “the realms of higher mathematics” as one bewildered journalist put it.

To others, Coltrane was the voice of progress, bravely reasserting the exploratory nature of jazz, daring to push his core repertoire through a process of continual reinvention, taking himself, his fellow players and those who flocked to hear him on an impassioned journey of discovery, night after night. Coltrane’s performances were now akin to opening Pandora’s Box. “There are all sorts of moods involved,” wrote one partisan jazz writer of the tenor players playing during the tour: “deep power…warmth…gracefulness…so many things.”

Playing over 30 concert appearances in under three weeks, the band criss-crossed the continent from France to Finland, taking its message to far larger crowds than could be squeezed into its club sets back in the US.

These recordings have since acquired almost legendary status and have previously only been available in sporadic fashion, but for the first time ever, this new release collates tapes made by the quintet in Paris, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm, creating a truly cool anthology of this short-lived band at its peak.

Newly remastered for optimum sound quality, along with examples of Coltrane’s landmark compositions Naima and Impressions, this collection also includes the saxophonists only recording of Victor Young’s theme Delilah and, as a bonus, a stunning rare “second house” performance of Coltrane’s transformational anthem My Favourite Things taped in Stockholm.

So Many Things, the European Tour 1961 features photographs, concert memorabilia and press clippings, and comes complete with an extensive booklet essay by award-winning British saxophonist and writer Simon Spillett.

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