Jazz CD Reviews

John Coltrane – Stardust – Prestige/Concord RVG Series

Gorgeous pre-modal Coltrane

Published on August 17, 2007

John Coltrane – Stardust – Prestige/Concord RVG Series
John Coltrane – Stardust – Prestige/Concord RVG Series PRCD-30168, 37:18  ****1/2:

(John Coltrane, tenor sax; Wilbur Harden, trumpet, flugelhorn; Freddie Hubbard, trumpet; Red Garland, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Jimmy Cobb, drums; Art Taylor, drums)

Recorded in 1958 over two sessions utilizing different trumpeters and drummers but the same pianist and bass player, John Coltrane had not yet entered his modal post-bop stage, when he recorded Stardust.  It has now been given a remastering by the session’s sound engineer, Rudy Van Gelder, as part of Prestige/Concord’s RVG Remasters series.  Composed of just four standards, this CD is recommended for fans of Coltrane’s more straight ahead romantic readings, as found on his Ballads CD.  It shows that John Coltrane could hold his own with the ballad giants, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Ben Webster.  John is more known for his “sheets of sound” playing and his exploratory cutting edge sessions recorded in the mid-60s. With the exception of Love Thy Neighbor, which is taken at a faster, more aggressive pace, the balance of these selections here are taken at a ballad pace.

Wilbur Harden is found on the Flugelhorn on the title track, and on trumpet on Love Thy Neighbor. A very young Freddie Hubbard, who was new to the New York scene in 1958, gets a chance to shine on the closing, Then I’ll Be Tired of You. Red Garland and Paul Chambers, band mates with John in Miles Davis’ late 50s group, provide their usual steady accompaniment. The drummer duties are split evenly between Art Taylor and Jimmy Cobb.  It doesn’t need to be stressed that all members of the rhythm section are top-notch and easily up to playing these standards.  Rudy Van Gelder has done his usual impeccable job with remastering, eliminating any harshness found in the original CD issue.

Matching Stardust, with later Coltrane issues is a nice way to balance both his avant searching qualities with his more romantic side. Add Stardust to your Coltrane collection to get a more complete picture of the genius that is John Coltrane.

TrackList: Stardust, Time After Time, Love Thy Neighbor, Then I’ll Be Tired of You

- Jeff Krow




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