The Very Best of John Coltrane
John Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist, and this album showcases some of his classic tracks. The saxophone has a very characteristic breathy sound, and its ability to ‘gliss’ (slide in pitch between two notes) is used a lot here. The songs range from slow ballads to upbeat, rhythmic tracks. As with most jazz, there’s plenty of syncopation and a strong bass part. Coltrane plays both alto and soprano sax in this album; I generally prefer the sound of the alto, the soprano tends to sound a little squeaky to me in its higher register but that’s just my personal preference. The soprano does seem more suited to faster paced music though, as it’s a more focused sound. It’s feel-good music – lots of major keys and a very relaxed mood.
Jazz Masters by Charlie Parker
Charlier Parker was another well known American saxophonist, born in 1920. In this album again there are lots of saxophone glissandos, and also some quite fast chromatic passages. Some of the tracks are heavily improvised, using a characteristic jazz technique which creates melodies wandering up and down the saxophone’s register almost too quickly to follow as you listen to it. I find too much of this style of playing a little tiring to listen to after a while!