1/ Naima (J. Coltrane) 15.08 2/ Introduction to My Favorite Things (Garrison) 6.07 3/ My Favorite Things (Rodgers,Hammerstein) 20.21 Recorded live at the Village Vanguard, New York City, May 28, 1966 Engineered by Rudy Van Gelder Produced by Bob Thiele Reissue produced by Michael Cuscuna Digitally Remastered by Erick Labson at MCA Music Media StudiosJohn Coltrane: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Pharoah Sanders: tenor saxophone, flute; Alice Coltrane: piano; Jimmy Garrison: bass; Rashied Ali: drums; Emanuel Rahim: percussion.
1966 - Impulse! Records (USA), AS-9124 (Vinyl) 1997 - Impulse! Records (USA), IMPD-213 (CD)
This isn’t it. Five years after that triumph, Coltrane returned to the Vanguard with his New Thing quintet, expanded to a sextet for the occasion: Coltrane on soprano, tenor, and bass clarinet; Pharoah Sanders on tenor and flute; Alice Coltrane on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, Rashied Ali on drums, and Emanuel Rahim on percussion. This album contains only two songs: “Naima” and “My Favorite Things,” which were perhaps the two most celebrated numbers, or overplayed chestnuts, of the Coltrane catalogue. Here they are given a treatment like no other.
Ali was no Elvin Jones. This band lacks the propulsive power brought by Jones and pianist McCoy Tyner. There is a slower, more meditative, less definite pace than Coltrane had worked with previously. The master seizes the opportunity to turn in, on “Naima,” a theme statement and, later, a solo of such a richness and passion that Eric Nisenson, a Coltrane biographer, suggests that it was for this kind of thing Coltrane cast his lot with the avant garde in the first place. Sanders here is still in a screaming mode, but his solo here shows in its melodic invention and fervent lyricism that Coltrane wasn’t deaf when he asked him to join the band. He knew he would be able to hold up his end, and he does; too often his work in the late Coltrane quintet is overlooked for its style, rather than appreciated for its real substance.
“My Favorite Things” starts with an extended Jimmy Garrison bass solo that is good, but not as involving as the ever longer ones on Live in Japan (recorded the next month) or the astounding turn he takes to begin “Impressions” in France in the summer of 1965 (hear it -- run, don’t walk -- on Live at Antibes, 1965, Le Jazz CD 10). Coltrane enters in high gear but with high lyricism as well. Sanders drops by for another solo of searing intensity and a furious duel with Coltrane, where the bass clarinet and flute appear, at some distance in the storm. Here the overall performance is perhaps less effective than the calmer but much longer (nearly one hour!) version recorded on Live in Japan ; certainly it’s worlds away from the 1960 Atlantic original or any of the previous live versions.
This CD is worth the price for the breathtaking “Naima.” “My Favorite Things” has its moments, too. People talk of “late Coltrane” as if all of his music after A Love Supreme sounded the same, but actually the music on this disc is much removed from the likes of Ascension, Om, or Live in Seattle. One might call this version of “Naima” The Gentle Side of Late Coltrane. Not for all tastes, perhaps, but essential for the musically adventurous.
Robert Spencer (courtesy of the All About Jazz website)
The 1966 album "Live At The Village Vanguard Again!" is one of the few Coltrane albums that critics really like to pan for some reason. The album features only two songs which are "Naima" and "My Favorite Things", the latter which is actually two tracks because Jim Garrison's bass introduction went a little too long for the entire song to fit on the one side of the LP. Both of these have become staples of Coltrane's catolog. They appear on the "Giant Steps" and "My Favorite Things" albums. One would think that it is just a rehash of old Atlantic sides by looking at the back but by listening to it, the listener is proven wrong. This performance really is more of a free jazz performance and rarely do the performers stick even remotely close to the themes of the songs. Pharoah Sanders usually takes a lot of heat from the critics for his style of playing and it is an aquired taste and not for the strictly traditional jazz listener. He really cuts into both songs with his lenghty solos. Coltrane really playes passionately in this set as well. But be forwarned that one should not play this CD expecting versions of the songs that are closer to the album versions because it just does not happen on this CD. But if you are willing to listen to Coltrane's more expanded work (I recomend you pick up "Live at Birdland" and "A Love Supreme" first before purchasing this one) this is a worthy purchase. It is a wonderful recording and an essential piece from Coltrane's Impulse! recordings.
glv-jazz (courtesy of Amazon.com website)
This album was always a bit of a disappointment. John Coltrane plays passionately on "My Favorite Things" and with great beauty on "Naima" but Pharoah Sanders' ferocious screeching on the latter piece largely ruins the almost-sacred ballad. Pianist Alice Coltrane, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Rashied Ali mostly vamp behind the saxophonists. This album is worth getting for Coltrane's passionate but coherent playing but one wishes that Sanders (who comes across as a much more limited player) had sat the night out.
Scott Yanow (courtesy of All Music Guide website)