New collection showcases John Coltrane’s early work as a sideman

Before becoming a legendary composer and bandleader, John Coltrane began his career as a sideman with some of the greatest names in jazz.

A new collection called Another Side of John Coltrane explores this aspect of the iconic artist’s career, highlighting some of Coltrane’s best work in recording sessions led by Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Red Garland, Tadd Dameron and Art Taylor.

Some of the highlights include a Davis-led recording of Rollins’s Airegin; the Monk standards ‘Round Midnight and Epistrophy; a version of Rollins’s iconic Tenor Madness, the only known recording of the two sax giants together; Dameron’s composition Soultrane; a Taylor-led take on Jimmy Heath’s C.T.A.; and the Red Garland Quintet’s recording of the Charlie Parker tune Billie’s Bounce.

Another Side of John Coltrane arrives Aug. 20 via Craft Recordings. It’ll be available in CD, double-LP and digital formats.

Until then, fans can hear the single Oleo. Written in 1954 by Sonny Rollins, the high-energy tune has since become a jazz standard. This version, which appeared on Relaxin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet, was recorded in October, 1956, at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in Hackensack, N.J. It features Davis on trumpet, Coltrane on tenor sax, Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums.

Coltrane began his music career in 1946, sharing the stage with the likes of King Kolax, Jimmy Heath, Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Hodges and even his idol, Charlie Parker.

In 1955, he got a life-changing call from Miles Davis inviting Coltrane to join his new band with Garland, Chambers, and Jones. The group recorded a series of highly regarded albums over the next two years and came to be known as the “First Great Quintet.”

In 1957, the saxophonist recorded his debut album as a leader, simply titled Coltrane. It was followed shortly by landmark recordings such as Blue Train in 1958 and Giant Steps in 1960. Throughout his career, he recorded a total of 45 studio albums as a leader and at least 59 more as a sideman.

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