In the year that commemorates the birth of John Coltrane, Gaumy Jam Records have released the album Dear J.C – Dedicate to John Coltrane. The ten John Coltrane compositions that make up the album are played by trumpeter Tomonao Hara and bassist Hiroshi Ikejir.
The ten tracks are as follows:
- Lonnies Lament
- Moment’s Notice
- Dear Lord
- Syeeda’s Song Flute
- Central Park West
- Count Down
- Chasin’ the A Train
After first listening through Dear J.C – Dedicate to John Coltrane (I always check albums out on a streaming site before buying )I was unsure whether or not to make the purchase before eventually pressing the “buy now” button on the Gaumy Jam Records Store website. The CD duly arrived and on further listening the album grew on me, then I listened again but this time through headphones: then I got it.
The music is pared back with plenty of space between notes. Tomonao Hara plays like he is being very deliberate and precise about what he is going to play: what notes matter to him in his reinterpretation of Coltrane’s music. Hara often plays right through the note until all that is left is his breath and, of course, that eventually comes to end before the next note comes in. All of this gives the album the feel of a lament to Coltrane that I find very effective.
I particularly enjoyed the tracks Naima and Syeeda’s Song Flute and as minimalist as they are, they remain distinctively Coltrane tunes. The final two tracks of the album do pick up the tempo so that the album finishes on a high and on the final track, Chasin’ the Train, bass player Hiroshi Ikejir is able to stretch out a bit and come to the fore. I very much enjoy Ikejir’s playing throughout the album and he does a particularly good job in supporting the trumpet of Hara.
This is one of those albums that requires repeated listening to, but I do recognize that it will not appeal to everyone. I also suggest (and this is not something I suggest very often) that if you are going to purchase the album do so as a download as to buy the physical CD can be expensive if import duties and handling fees are applied.