Continuing Sunday's Alarm Will Sound concert in Berkeley trip report...
I had extra time before the show and since it was raining, I headed towards the slightly seedy Mediterranean Cafe on Telegraph Avenue. I ended up listening twice to Song of Praise by the John Coltrane Quartet (Coltrane, Tyner, Garrison, Jones).
Earlier, I had been listening to the light bop of 1951's Good Groove, one of the earliest extant recordings of Coltrane playing with Dizzy Gillespie. With hindsight, one can extrapolate from that piece to Coltrane's ultimate achievements; I was listening to 1965's Song of Praise to see if, in the opposite direction, I could still hear the bop roots in his intense exclamations and overtones. Kind of.
To my surprise, McCoy Tyner's emphatic piano technique stole the song. His fast yet grounded runs made Coltrane sound superflous and flighty in comparison. I was almost disappointed when Coltrane came back in at the end of Tyner's solo. Still, the saxophonist is arguably, as the CD suggests, jazz's "last giant."