John Coltrane: “Naima”

The musicians on Naima, above, are Coltrane on tenor, McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on base and Elvin Jones on drums.

The folks at AllMusic do a nice job of summing up the artist at the beginning of the bios and only then jumping into the facts. Here is what it says about Coltrane:

Despite a relatively brief career (he first came to notice as a sideman at age 29 in 1955, formally launched a solo career at 33 in 1960, and was dead at 40 in 1967), saxophonist John Coltrane was among the most important, and most controversial, figures in jazz. It seems amazing that his period of greatest activity was so short, not only because he recorded prolifically, but also because, taking advantage of his fame, the record companies that recorded him as a sideman in the 1950s frequently reissued those recordings under his name and there has been a wealth of posthumously released material as well. Since Coltrane was a protean player who changed his style radically over the course of his career, this has made for much confusion in his discography and in appreciations of his playing. There remains a critical divide between the adherents of his earlier, more conventional (if still highly imaginative) work and his later, more experimental work. No one, however, questions Coltrane’s almost religious commitment to jazz or doubts his significance in the history of the music.

Here is the PBS page on Coltrane, and two memorial sites.

Four pieces from Coltrane: My Favorite ThingsGiant StepsAlabama and On Green Dolphin Street