John Coltrane

Side Steps (Prestige Records)

Box Sets

John Coltrane

Side Steps (Prestige)

John Coltrane's 12-year recording career was so bountiful. Although not as qualitatively distinct as his later work with the Atlantic and Impulse labels, the dozens of recordings by the saxophonist as both a leader and sideman for Prestige Records provide an extraordinary spotlight on his development into the tenor titan he soon became. Side Steps is the third and final box set documenting the North Carolina-born horn man's formative work as a sideman for the label (separate from his albums with Miles Davis' Quintet). This beautifully packaged, extensively annotated 5-CD set collects 43 tracks covering 1956 to 1958, when Coltrane was a ubiquitous gun-for-hire. Most of the session leaders are pianists – Tadd Dameron, Elmo Hope, Mal Waldron, Red Garland – though Coltrane's only recording with Sonny Rollins, Tenor Madness, is here, along with a four-saxophone conclave headed by Gene Ammons and including Pepper Adams and Paul Quinichette. The session led by tuba player Ray Draper is particularly intriguing. Other top-shelf sidemen joining Coltrane on various dates are trumpeter Donald Byrd, sax men Hank Mobley and Jackie McLean, and Miles Davis Quintet rhythm section Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. Like too many Prestige dates of the era, these are casual blowin' sessions, with musicians stretching out on blues originals and well-worn standards. This has its limitations, but Coltrane is impressive throughout, giving birth to his torrential "sheets of sound." Standing alongside previous box sets Fearless Leader (2006) and Interplay (2007), Side Steps completes a formidable triumvirate.

***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More John Coltrane
DVDs
Jazz Sides, Art Blakey, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman, Anita O'Day, Jimmy Smith, John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, and Andrew Hill
Live in '65, Live in '62 & '64, Live in '64, Live in '63 & '70, Live in '69, The World According to John Coltrane, Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday, American Composer, Swingin' the Blues, Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker, Solos: The Jazz Sessions (Record Review)

Jay Trachtenberg, Dec. 3, 2010

Box Sets
John Coltrane
Interplay (Record Review)

Jay Trachtenberg, Dec. 7, 2007

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Gary Clark Jr.
This Land (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, March 22, 2019

Texas Platters
Rosie Flores
Simple Case of the Blues (Record Review)

Jay Trachtenberg, March 22, 2019

More by Jay Trachtenberg
Top Books of 2018 for American Road Tripping
Top Books of 2018 for American Road Tripping
Two novels set on the open road and two accounts of life in Trump's White House all made for journeys deep into America today

Dec. 28, 2018

Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

John Coltrane

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle