New York’s Slow To Speak crew continue their eponymous bootleg series with a pair of screenprinted 12″s celebrating the work of John Coltrane and Terry Callier.
A whole side of the Coltrane record is given over a fat pressing of the legendary saxophonist’s sublime, subdued ‘Olé’. Taken from the 1961 album Olé Coltrane, it features a crack team of ensemble players including Eric Dolphy (credited as George Lane), Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones and, in particularly inspiring form, pianist McCoy Tyner. On the B-side we’re treated to the divinely languorous ‘Tunji’, from 1962’s Coltrane, and ‘The Sun’, from 1966’s Cosmic Music.
Slow To Speak’s Paul Nickerson and Francis Englehardt explain the appeal of Coltrane and these particular cuts with typical zeal:
“One of the indisputable leaders of the jazz vanguard, Coltrane, ever the talent scout and tastemaker as much the leading tenor saxophonist of his time, assembled the proper personnel and conceptual vision that would carry the avant-garde into the 1970s with his growing ethereality, abstraction and ever-playful experimental mastery.
“While much stress has been laid on his most abrasive free-jazz leanings, Coltrane had, by no means, abandoned the dynamic relationship with melody that the standard-forebears had drilled into him from his early years, and he was one of the first to see the possibility of combining dissonant investigation with the warm directness and immediacy of intricate melodic composition.
“Coltrane’s span of albums from “Olé Coltrane” to “Cosmic Music” rolled out the red carpet that protege’s – Sanders, Cherry and his second wife Alice – and strange newcomers alike would triumphantly parade across for the next 10 years, defining what would be later coined ‘spiritual jazz’. And while historical might is always noted with special admiration in the critical review of our 20th century music, it is the immediate emotional and expressive vivacity of his music that shines through, eternally and especially today, that makes songs like “Olé”, “Tunji” (debuted in 1997) and “The Sun” literally timeless…”
Quite. As for Terry Callier, well, FACT has always found his voice a little overpowering, but the Slow To Speak 12″ does feature a certified deep house classic in the shape of Roy Davis, Jr.’s remix of ‘Love Theme From Spartacus’. On the flip is a 2000 live recording of ‘Dancing Girl’.
Slow To Speak’s label, technically called Celebrate Life, has been putting out records like this since 2008, and to date has featured artists as diverse as Kate Bush, Bauhaus, Don Cherry, Brian Eno, Arthur Russell and The Cure. Click here to view the full catalogue, and buy the Coltrane and Callier 12″s here and here.