Personnel: John Coltrane (tenor saxophone); John Tchicai, Marion Brown (alto saxophone); Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders (tenor saxophone); Freddie Hubbard, Dewey Johnson (trumpet); McCoy Tyner (piano); Art Davis, Jimmy Garrison (bass); Elvin Jones (drums).
Producer: Bob Thiele.
Reissue producer: Bryan Koniarz.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on June 28, 1965. Originally released on Impulse (95). Includes liner notes by Lewis Porter and A.B. Spellman.
Digitally remastered by Kevin Reeves (Universal Mastering Studios-East).
Personnel: John Coltrane (tenor saxophone); John Tchicai, Marion Brown (alto saxophone); Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp (tenor saxophone); Dewey Johnson , Freddie Hubbard (trumpet); McCoy Tyner (piano); Jimmy Garrison, Art Davis (bass instrument); Elvin Jones (drums, drum).
Liner Note Author: A.B. Spellman.
Recording information: Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (06/28/1965).
Author: LeRoi Jones.
Photographer: Charles Stewart .
The album ASCENSION played a profoundly important role in John Coltrane's final period. Recorded in June 1965, almost exactly two years before his death, this session marks Coltrane's final stepping off point into free jazz. The album also marks a division for Coltrane's fans, as there are some that applaud his final escape from jazz tradition while others simply couldn't follow him into the great unknown.
One way or another, ASCENSION refuses to be ignored. A stunning list of colleagues joins the legendary saxophonist on his final quest. Besides his famed regular quartet, avant-garde saxophonists Pharaoh Sanders and Archie Shepp, extra bassist Art Davis, and even trumpet star Freddie Hubbard, among others, produce an intense sonic assault. If you're sensitive to dissonant noise and uncontrolled barrages of sound, ASCENSION will offer you no comfort. However, the unbridled emotional onslaught that Coltrane unleashes here dwarfs any other artist's entire output. Love it or hate it, this is one disc that's sure to stay on your mind long after its din has faded.
The Wire (6/01, p.42) - "...The most important record Coltrane ever made. It marked such a violent severance with his past that many critics at the time thought he had lost his mind..."
Down Beat (12/00, p.94) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...There is no more radical free-jazz statement than 1965's ASCENSION....this album roars and soars beyond its milieu to become one for the ages and is Coltrane's most difficult statement for jazz traditionalists to follow..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.52) - Ranked #8 in Mojo's "The 50 Most Out There Albums Of All Time" - "ASCENSION remains a uniquely draining, frighteningly human and intense experience."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.87) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[R]adical....Consisting of a single rambling and largely cacophonous 40-mintue free jazz piece..."
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