JJ 07/62: John Coltrane – Olé Coltrane

Sixty years ago 'B.B' thought Coltrane's two-chord Olé must have been the most boring composition of the last decade. First published in Jazz Journal July 1962

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It has always amazed me that these so-called modernists actually have the nerve to study and criticise their own playing. Apart from a fast finger technique (which never fails to impress anyone) the phrases and variations of sound they employ add up to nothing more than sheer boredom.

“Olé” must be the most boring composition of the last decade. It employs a slightly Spanish-flavoured rhythm in six-four time with two essential chords, which completely hem in the pianist, and only allow Coltrane to have a good practice on his Arabian folk music.

Freddie Hubbard sounds like a talented jazz trumpeter trying hard to lose his tradition and conform to the Coltrane “outness”. The alto player sounds like a cross between Eric Dolphy and Boyce Brown. The added bass supplies the comic sound effects and is also deeply immersed in the “Arabian mode”, if you will pardon the expression. “Aisha” is an attractive ballad by McCoy Tyner.

Of course they call it jazz, for the writers are desperate for something new to write about and the musicians are desperate for recognition, and the easiest way to get it is to be different.

Discography
Olé (18½ min) – Dahomey Dance; Aisha (19 min)
John Coltrane (sop/ten): George Lane (flt/alto); Freddie Hubbard (tpt); McCoy Tyner (p); Reggie Workman, Art Davis (bs); Elvin Jones (d).
(London LTZ-K 15239 12inLP 35s. 9d.)