John Coltrane - The Olatunji Concert: The Last Live Recording
Oct 12, 2021
78
I've had this record on my plate for a while now; I've just never gotten around to it until today. I heard this for the first time (only "Ogunde") a couple of months ago and, I'll be honest, I wasn't the biggest fan. But, now, when I listen to John Coltrane's final ever performance, the madcap, free-spirited "The Olatunji Concert: The Last Live Recording", I can't help but get the feeling that Coltrane has nailed exactly what he was going for. The jazz auteur went into this recording with one thing on his mind; to completely shelve all conventions of jazz and play exactly where his heart took him. So, over the two thirty-minute tracks, which are as brutal and strenuous as they are spellbinding, John Coltrane does John Coltrane things, making for a record that, at its core, is unequivocally John Coltrane. Every single instrument plays a role in creating this meticulously crafted chaos, music that, as it progresses, crumbles on top of itself, resulting in this huge, cathartic fire. Coltrane starts making smoke right from the get-go, putting everything he's got into his saxophone's caterwauls throughout either song. Atmospherically, the record strengthens by the minute; by the end, I felt as if I'd heard something, unlike anything I'd ever heard before. Did some areas drag - absolutely - and neither track had any business being as long as it was. But there was something gripping about the whole project, an aspect I could respect about John Coltrane making something as disorienting and genre-breaking as this. It may not be something I rush at the chance to revisit, but John Coltrane's "The Olatunji Concert: The Last Live Recording" is a pretty impressive record just in how unique, mercurial and proficient it is.

Best Tracks: Ogunde
Worst Tracks: My Favourite Things

Rating: B

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