Interplay (Prestige Records)
Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, Fri., Dec. 7, 2007
John ColtraneInterplay (Prestige)
A splendid complement to last year's addictive, 6-CD Fearless Leader, which collected all of John Coltrane's recordings as a leader for Prestige Records, Interplay weighs in as a 5-CD compilation of the saxophonist's oeuvre as co-leader/sideman for the same label. Recorded between September 1956 and March 1958, these sides overlap with the Leader-ship dates and his fabled sessions as a member of the incomparable Miles Davis Quintet. These are primarily one-off, freewheeling "blowing sessions" suffused with blues and standards that find Trane in some intriguing configurations. On "Tenor Conclave," he's one of four saxophonists, including the masterful Hank Mobley; for "Dakar," he's aided by baritone saxmen Cecil Payne and Pepper Adams. The "Interplay" session boasts a two-trumpet, two-saxophone frontline, but the real gem is "Cattin'," which pairs Coltrane with Lester Young imitator Paul Quinichette for a stark study in contrasting sounds and styles. Pianists Mal Waldron, Tommy Flanagan, and Red Garland, plus guitarist Kenny Burrell, are prominently featured throughout. For his part, Coltrane demonstrates a bold, probing, distinctive voice with electrifying elements of his "sheets of sound" well-evidenced. Within a few short years, John Coltrane would be the foremost saxophonist in jazz.