Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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John Coltrane

  • Africa Brass, Vol. II [Impulse, 1974] A
  • Interstellar Space [Impulse, 1974] A-
  • One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note [Impulse, 2005] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Africa Brass, Vol. II [Impulse, 1974]
Those who've listened to them all assure me that this is indeed the first Coltrane LP since his death that isn't tainted with rip-off. I gave up listening to them, but I listen to this one all the time. A

Interstellar Space [Impulse, 1974]
These duets between Coltrane on tenor (and bells) and Rashied Ali on drums sound like an annoyance until you concentrate on them, at which point the interactions take on pace and shape, with metaphorical overtones that have little to do with the musical ideas being explored. European, Oriental, African--I don't know. But amazing. A-

One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note [Impulse, 2005]
There's so much posthumous Coltrane I don't even want to hear it all. So I resisted this somewhat overpriced, somewhat underrecorded 87-minute double CD--until I played it a second time. The selling point is the title tune, at 27:40 the longest Coltrane solo on record even though it begins in the middle. It gets really good after bass and piano sit out so Coltrane and his friend Jones can bash and blow at each other undistracted. A-