Impulse! and Back To Black reissue one of the founding texts of free jazz: John Coltrane’s Ascension. John leads a large ensemble (including Pharoah Sanders, Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner…) into ecstatic group improvisations. Each soloist gets a section to flow freely on, and when they all come together again, minds are blown. A crucial classic.
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- Ascension by John Coltrane
8/10 gbar Customer review, 4th May 2017
Released in 1965, Ascension is as 'free jazz' as John Coltrane got. The end result may alienate those who mainly go for his lighter works, such as A Love Supreme and Blue Train. Nevertheless, if you are indeed a fan of free jazz at all, this is the second album of his you should buy (you can figure out the first for yourself). The energy is amazing throughout, and for an ambitious and unprecedented project like this one, Coltrane's leadership was crucial. He possessed the vision and charisma that was necessary to break the dichotomy between the backing band and the instrumental solos. You could call Ascension the genesis of the jazz fusion movement. It may be a challenging listen, seeing as it's one forty-minute piece, but it is not a piece that should easily be dismissed.
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