John Coltrane - Coltrane's Sound (1964), 6/10

Coltrane’s Sound is one of those albums that took many hours of listening to embed itself into my psyche, all of this before I could claim any affection for its individual voice. It does in fact have a unique and distinctive character, especially considering its clinging to themes of bebop, fleshed out through a collection of focused performances from Coltrane and Tyner as always, accented with Davis and Jones rhythm section that excels in matching the melodies’ dynamics. The consistency of Trane’s strengths is here in full effect, matched perfectly with these traditional song structures. There is a surprising cohesion among these songs considering their inclusion in the 1960 sessions along with My Favorite Things and Coltrane Plays the Blues, they are almost singular in their tone while displaying a variety of emotions and motifs, something that gives it an edge over these other two albums in my view. Congruency is just one aspect, however, and perhaps what makes Coltrane’s Sound powerful is in fact its subtle yet clear intensity and embracing warmth. My personal favorite and the most wholly cohesive track is perhaps “Central Park West”, yet “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” and “Equinox” also have their own enigmatic magnetism that excel beyond the other surrounding songs. Still, among a set of standards and tame originals, there is a thematic sound achieved here, pardon the pun, that rivals some of Coltrane’s best work. The recording isn’t as technically monumental as Giant Steps or as gloriously free as his late work, but these performances are just as passionate, and have a unique inscrutable quality of somber affection that give Coltrane’s Sound a supremely individual identity.