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Ralph Gleason's Jazz Casual - John Coltrane
Ralph Gleason's Jazz Casual - John Coltrane
Actor: John Coltrane
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2003     0hr 23min

It might not seem like much: 30 minutes, three tunes, four musicians on a bare-bones soundstage. But this is John Coltrane, and any opportunity to see the legendary saxophonist at work is something to be savored. That's e...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: John Coltrane
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Coltrane, John, Jazz, Classical
Studio: Rhino / Wea
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 01/28/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1987
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 0hr 23min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A must-have for Coltrane fans
Peter Kasin | California | 05/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a rare glimpse of Coltrane's quartet performing on television, and it is a very special glimpse, not only because it is rare, but because the musicians look relaxed and in their element, performing brilliantly. This was originally shown on the half-hour public television series, "Jazz Casual," hosted by the music critic Ralph Gleason. The only interference was the time limit of the show, otherwise Gleason's respect for the music and the musicians dictated that he give them complete artistic control. Even the stage was left uncluttered, without any distracting fancy backdrop. Coltrane's genius, and the genius of the whole quartet shines through. Thanks to his son Toby Gleason, these vault treasures are now available for all to see. It's hard to imagine any television show today having such an unhurried and unadorned look and feel to it. This show, and all the Jazz Casual shows released on video are very much worth having."
Great Video!!!!!!!!!!!!
Christopher Covais | ny | 04/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I first watched this, i was far from dissapointed. The opening track Afro Blue is a great swining song on the recording, to see it preformed by this wonderful group was absolutely fabulous. The group gets into some heavy improvisations, and you can see the host Ralph J Gleason's face bright up with astonishment from the solos. As on the other Jazz Casual videos the artist talks with Gleason, here Mr Gleason just gives a "jazz in a nutshell" introduction, before the group swings on Coltrane's own composition, Alabama. I think you can see Trane's wife in the backround sitting on a chair watching off stage. Alabama's dark gloomy intro is great. Last is Impressions, Trane's famous tune. Bassist Jimmy Garrison takes a monster solo, before Trane and Elvin Jones solo off eachother without garrison or pianist McCoy Tyner. This was a fabulous video. I just finished watching it for about the hundred time. It still shocks and amazes me every time. If your into Trane's other Avant Garde preformances, you absolutely can't go wron with this digital video disk!"
Coltrane! Enough said!
Dawoud Kringle | New York City | 02/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As I understand it, Coltrane could have taken some time to be interviewd. While I'd have loved to hear what he had to say, I am giving this five stars.

With all three selections, he is clearly conscious of the time constraints; yet the artistry is not in any way compromised. Impressions was great, especially with the duet between Trane and Elvin Jones. I've always loved Afro Blue; and he plays it beautifully. And Alabama makes you feel the pain that inspired the song; the reaction to the bombing of a black church in Alabama. One is especially touched by the look on Jone's face at the end of the song while Coltrane is making his statement.

What words exist that could describe the experience of listening to Coltrane, or watching him as he created his masterworks? His music is one of humanity's greatest treasures."
Precious Trane Footage
Christopher Calabrese | Watertown, CT, USA | 05/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a must-have if you are a Coltrane fan. I repeat...this is a must-have. There's isn't a lot of Coltrane video footage out there, and here you get three full songs - "Afro-Blue," "Impressions," and "Alabama." You also get a short segment by the host, Ralph Gleason, where he talks about jazz music in general, and here's a piece of that quote:

"The thing that a modern jazz musician does, which you should really keep in mind when you see him in concerts, or see him in jazz clubs, is somewhat similar to looking at a poet standing in the middle of a supermarket and improvising poetry. They are called upon by the discipline of this artform to go into public places where people are gathered informally, and to spontaneously create music. Unlike a poet, unlike the writer of a novel, unlike a painter, they have no opportunity to take this product that they have created and re-form it and correct the mistakes they might have made or change the way in which they approach it. What they do is done for all time, right then, when they do it. This is one of the unique things about jazz, and it's one of the things that gives it a particular quality of aliveness that makes it one of the most interesting and vital of all contemporary artforms." ~ Ralph Gleason

Right on, Mr. Gleason! As for the music...this recording of "Alabama" is only the second recording in existence of the song. It is also found as a studio recording on "Live at Birdland". Obviously, the two other tracks are somewhat abbreviated, but it's only a 30-minute television show. The sound and footage are top-notch for 1963. On Tyner's solos on "Impressions" and "Afro-Blue," the camera zooms in on his hands. Garrison also looks like someone dumped a bucket of water over his head - he sweats a lot. Musically, I'd say the highlight is the interplay between Trane and Elvin Jones on "Impressions." Coltrane plays a soprano on "Afro-Blue" and a tenor on the two other tracks. There's nothing too out of the ordinary from the overal performance but this footage is precious.