In 1964, John Coltrane and his Classic Quartet went into Van Gelder Studios and, in an unprecedented move for the saxophone giant/composer, recorded new versions of some of his most famous works. Those never-before-heard recordings are presented here as Blue World pressed on 180g vinyl LP mastered from the original analog tape by Kevin Reeves at Universal Music Mastering in New York with lacquers cut by Ron McMaster at Capitol Studios.
Early in 1964, the year he recorded A Love Supreme, Coltrane was approached by a Quebecois filmmaker, Gilles Groulx. Groulx was planning his film Le chat dans le sac, a love story set in Montreal with political undertones. A die-hard Coltrane fan, Groulx was fixated on having Coltrane record a soundtrack for his film. Groulx approached Coltrane via a personal connection with bassist Jimmy Garrison, and amazingly, Coltrane agreed. So right between the recording sessions for Crescent and A Love Supreme in June of '64, Coltrane brought Garrison, Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner into Van Gelder Studios to do something virtually unprecedented in Coltrane world: revisit and record earlier works. Groulx was at Van Gelder, watching the session, listening. It's unclear how much creative input the filmmaker had, and how much conversation happened between him and Coltrane, that yielded this rare kind of session.
Recorded on 1/4" analog mono tape, the session was mixed by Rudy Van Gelder at Van Gelder Studios on June 24, 1964. Groulx took the master to Canada to use in his film, although he only included ten minutes of the 37-minute recording. Blue World reveals Coltrane's personal progress, as well as the interactive consistency and sonic details the Classic Quartet had firmly established as their collective signature by 1964. This signature was so assured and dramatic, so buoyant and different from the sound Coltrane had delivered before. And it is significant that this recording session – whatever the ultimate driving force was – happened in between two of Coltrane's most expansive, spiritually transcendent records that would set the tone for the rest of his musical career. Blue World follows on the heels of the global success of 2018's Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album, a studio album recorded in 1963 that revealed new compositions from Coltrane and the Classic Quartet at their peak.