By request: Ascension is a jazz album by John Coltrane recorded in 1965 and released in 1966. It is often considered to be a watershed album, with the albums released before it being more conventional in structure and the albums released after it being looser, free jazz inspired works. In addition, it signaled Coltrane’s interest in moving away from the quartet format. Coltrane described Ascension in a radio interview as a “big band thing”, although it resembles no big band recording made before it. The most obvious antecedent is Ornette Coleman’s octet (or “double quartet”) recording, Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation, which – like Ascension – is a continuous 40-minute performance with ensemble passages and without breaks. Jazz musician Dave Liebman, commenting on Ascension, recalled that the album was the “torch that lit the free jazz thing”.
Two recordings of “Ascension” exist, called Edition I and Edition II. The latter replaced Edition I (also as A-95, with “EDITION II” etched on the vinyl runout circle. Confusingly, Take 1 is Edition I and Take 2 is Edition II) some months after the original release.
Release Date: 2016
- Ascension Edition I Pt. 1 (19:00)
- Ascension Edition I Pt. 2 (19:42)
- Ascension Edition II Pt. 1 (18:57)
- Ascension Edition II Pt. 2 (21:38)