If you’re a fan of John Coltrane–the not-so-jolly giant of ’60s jazz–you already know that footage of the man in action is more rare than a Kinetoscope film of a pterodactyl crashing a Tupperware party. So, imagine my surprise when a whole DVD’s worth of moving images chasing the Trane winked its way into existence inside that as-yet-unamed reality that we call home. The disc rolls out the red carpet for no less than three performances from small town Europe in the early 1960s.
The first set was filmed on March 28, 1960 in Dusseldorf, West Germany on an off night during a Miles Davis Quintet tour. (Having been Davis’ sideman for years, Coltrane begrudgingly did this one last tour with him as a favor.) With Coltrane at the helm, this set boasts five examples of super-mellow, late-night, smokey supper club ballads occasionally salted with Coltrane’s rapid-fire sheets of sound approach that he had developed in the mid-’50s. Featuring Davis’ rhythm section–Paul Chambers on bass, Jimmy Cobb on drums and Wynton Kelly on piano–the whole lilting thing was filmed for a TV broadcast in stark black-and-white with multiple cameras, which allowed for some pleasantly artistic montages of already nicely composed scenes. Fellow sax man Stan Getz and pianist Oscar Peterson guest on a couple of tracks.