Garland's lyrical introduction sets the stage for a rip-roaring version of Berlin's "Russian Lullaby." Coltrane immediately anchors his sax in such a way as to dictate the pace and thrust. Playing at breakneck speed, his attacks are inspired, jagged and happening. The rhythm section is up for the challenge. Taylor's steady drumming; Chamber's rolling bass lines, and Garland's fluid piano contribute a great deal to this bebop classic.
Dameron's gracious piano is featured on his beautiful piece, "On A Misty Night." Taken at mid tempo, Dameron's intro serves as a catalyst for Coltrane's tenor. After a few bars, Dameron returns with a laid back yet thoughtful solo. Some fine brushwork from Jones.
When it comes to ballads, it's hard to beat Coltrane's expressive tone and unbridled passion. On "Theme For Ernie," his tenor exhibits a smooth, controlled manner that invites the listener to savor every note.
Coltrane's standard blues number, "Trane's Slo Blues" also known as Slowtrane, is an enticing vehicle full of subtle changes and great trio work. Both May and Taylor work well as a rhythm section. Their attentive playing invites Coltrane to explore various musical avenues.
There are many tasty treats on the bonus CD. The inclusion of Miles Davis's classic composition "Four" is a real treat. Taken from Workin', the Miles Davis Quintet offers up some great ensemble playing that would set the standard for future generations.
Other notable inclusions include Rollin's "Paul's Pal", as well as numbers from Steve Lacy, Mal Waldron and others.
This collection is a great starting point for listeners who want to discover Coltrane's pre-Atlantic and Impulse years. For serious listeners, there are a multitude of box sets and various collections that dig deeper into this period in Coltrane's brief but important career. The addition of a bonus CD only sweetens the pot.