John Coltrane did not want to tour Europe with Miles Davis in 1960. After the seminal Kind of Blue recording, Trane was on to his own thing, spearheading his career and going in a different direction.
Coltrane joined the European tour with reluctance, but it doesn’t show in the music of this four-CD edition. Instead, you get a near-reinvention of repertoire that includes a faster-tempoed “So What,” along with “All Blues,” “Round Midnight,” “On Green Dolphin Street” and more.
As the ensemble, which included Jimmy Cobb on drums, Wynton Kelly on piano and Paul Chambers on bass, wended its way through Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Holland, Coltrane unloosed more sheets of sound. Yes, sets repeat over four CDs, but the solos don’t. There’s a deepening integration that belies the disintegration of Miles and Trane’s relationship. This tour would be the last time these powerhouse pioneers would play together.
The extensive liner notes by saxophonist/writer Simon Spillett and a backstage interview on Disc 1 with John Coltrane tell the tale of the tapes that became this historical recording.