Vinyl Spotlight: John Coltrane, Coltrane’s Sound (Atlantic 1419) [Second “Orange/Purple Label” Mono Pressing]

  • Second 1966 mono pressing
  • Orange & purple labels with black fan and “Atlantic” written vertically
  • Non-laminated cover with “NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10023” and “copyright 1966” on back of jacket

Personnel:

  • John Coltrane, tenor & soprano saxophones
  • McCoy Tyner, piano
  • Steve Davis, bass
  • Elvin Jones, drums

“Central Park West”, “Body and Soul”, and “Satellite” recorded October 24, 1960
“Liberia”, “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes”, and “Equinox” recorded October 26, 1960
All selections recorded at Atlantic Records’ 56th Street studio, NYC
Originally released in 1964

Before I started collecting vintage jazz records, a friend of mine who also happens to be a jazz drummer let me borrow a bunch of jazz CDs to rip to my computer and this was one of them. At the time, I pretty much took all the John Coltrane he had, not having any idea of what was what. But a couple songs on this album, “Central Park West” and “Equinox”, immediately stood out to me, and this has been one of my favorite Trane albums since.

The stereo separation on this album is typical of that on all the Atlantic Coltrane albums: an empty center and all instruments panned hard left and right. Released after Coltrane had already moved over to Impulse and his contract with Atlantic had expired, this album was compiled from three 1960 recording sessions (two in one day on October 24, 1960), which also produced tracks for My Favorite Things and Coltrane Plays the Blues. (Fun fact: I’ve heard that Coltrane disapproved of this cover art, believing that the way it made his face look like it was melting was morbid.) After ripping this album from my friend but before I acquired this copy, I got a hold of the same 1999 stereo CD my friend had, and the extreme separation made me especially interested in hunting down an original mono pressing. A copy evaded me for years (stereo originals of this album seem to outnumber mono copies about ten to one), but a couple months ago I was elated to find this copy at a local shop.

I had a bit of fun determining the vintage of this pressing. Almost convinced that it was a first pressing, I noticed a copy for sale on eBay that appeared to sport a laminated cover. Then, upon further inspection I noticed that, despite the labels being identical on both copies, the bottom of the eBay jacket read, “NEW YORK 23, NEW YORK”, followed by “copyright 1964”. My copy is therefore clearly a second pressing, but what’s to complain about when the mastering is identical, my copy is in top condition, and I paid the price of a sealed reissue?

As previously stated, “Central Park West” and “Equinox” are the moody standouts here. The former, a gorgeous, sweet ballad written by Coltrane and played with soprano sax, conjures imagery of a romantic couple strolling the namesake street bordering the world-famous park on a cloudy autumn day. The latter is a blues with a dark, foreboding underpinning whose happier “B” section ultimately gives way to solos of a more playful nature. These two songs are really the sole reason I hold this album in such high regard. The rest of the tracks don’t appeal to me enough to play this album all the way through every time (I’ve never been a big fan of the standard “Body and Soul”), though the controlled chaos of the pianoless trio on “Satellite”, which serves as one of numerous Atlantic-era predictors of Trane’s future direction at Impulse, has steadily grown on me since I came across this LP.