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CD: Denys Baptiste - The Late Trane | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Denys Baptiste - The Late Trane

CD: Denys Baptiste - The Late Trane

A beautiful exploration of late period Coltrane by the outstanding British tenor player

Now boarding: 'The Late Trane'Dave Stapleton

Denys Baptiste's deep dive into the mid-1960s work of jazz icon, sax player and composer John Coltrane also serves to mark 50 years since Coltrane's shockingly early death at the age of 40.

The saxist's core quartet features two long-standing collaborators, double bassist Gary Crosby and drummer Rod Youngs, plus Jazz FM Instrumentalist of the Year, pianist Nikki Yeoh.

One of Coltrane's most captivating melodies, Youngs opens up a suitably vast canvas on "Living Space" with temple bell and cymbal strokes (and what sounds like a wind machine), before Baptiste’s incantatory tenor calls out into the firmament. And then the surprise: just before the halfway point, Baptiste employs an octave delay, emulating Coltrane's double tracking of himself on soprano and tenor. This signals an incremental intensification of the texture and a solo of incredible puissance from the leader.

In its use of electronics, rippling electric piano and heavy vamps, "Ascent" is taken in an electric Miles direction. With especially heroic work from Yeoh, "Peace On Earth" is an iridescent delight, a pure torrent of invention that seems to want to dissever itself from the earth-bound. A radically understated "Transition" provides the calm before the stormier climes of Baptiste’s “Neptune” and the pulsating groove of "Vigil", before we’re enveloped by the stillness of “Astral Trane”, the second of two Baptiste compositions.

A nod to the two-bass approach of Coltrane's Ascension, six of the album's 10 tracks feature Neil Charles on upright or electric bass, joining Crosby to give the bottom end some real heft. Factor in the transformative presence of tenor sax legend Steve Williamson on a trio of tracks, and the resulting swirl of lines and emotionally charged interplay creates an exhilarating momentum.

Closing with two of Coltrane’s most touching ballads, "After the Rain" and "Dear Lord", Baptiste’s deep-seated affection for this music is palpable.


The resulting swirl of lines and emotionally charged interplay creates an exhilarating momentum


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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