John Coltrane for Experts


The John Coltrane Quintet Featuring Eric Dolphy
So Many Things: The European Tour 1961
Acrobat

So many “things” indeed! This intriguing four-disc collection of concert performances from November 1961 features six different renditions of the standard “My Favorite Things, each running 20 to 29 minutes, along with more compact versions of “Blue Train,” “I Want to Talk About You.” and other Coltrane favorites. These previously bootlegged concerts were taken from radio broadcasts and suffer slightly from thin sound, but are more than listenable. If So Many Things isn’t for beginners, it’s great extra-credit listening: With multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy briefly in the lineup, Coltrane was pushing his tenor and soprano sax chops into new territory, leaving behind traditional melodies and song structures in a restless search for fresh ideas and approaches—a quest he would continue until his death in 1967. The harsher extremes of his final years are yet to be reached, and there’s a mesmerizing, meditative quality to the music throughout that’s dreamy, yet subtly urgent.