Box of Rain

John Coltrane – Ascension (1966) (2016) Reissue [24-192]

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

Track Listing:

  1. Ascension Edition I Pt. 1 (19:00)
  2. Ascension Edition I Pt. 2 (19:42)
  3. Ascension Edition II Pt. 1 (18:57)
  4. Ascension Edition II Pt. 2 (21:38)

Acoustic Sounds [24-192]

4 thoughts on “John Coltrane – Ascension (1966) (2016) Reissue [24-192]

  1. Astro

    Thank you for getting this request up so rapidly. I’m not someone who can claim to be aware of this album for decades, it’s a recent discovery for me. When I first heard it, it brought up a quote from the old memory files about the Velvet Underground that I can only paraphrase since reading it 30+ years ago, but the gist of it is, “VU didn’t sell many records, but everyone who bought one went out and started a band”. This album just feels like it set off seismic waves like that. Waves, underground waves, that are still bouncing around within our planet. It’s not a real easy listen, that’s for sure, but man when it hits you, it HITS you.

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