Gilad Atzmon: The Spirit of Trane review – heart and soul homage

(Fanfare/Discovery)

Fifty years after Coltrane’s death, Gilad Atzmon, the expat Israeli saxophonist, clarinetist and author has recorded and is touring this dedication to the great American saxophonist, made with his Orient House Ensemble and the Sigamos String Quartet (Atzmon previously paid tribute to the genius of Charlie Parker on his 2009 album In Loving Memory of America). Here the saxophonist (who embraces Coltrane as “a man who transformed anger into love and plight into a humanist message”) emphasises the American’s tenderness over his revolutionary heat, but he’s dealing with Coltrane’s subjective impact, not mimicking a legacy. The tenor-sax soliloquy on Invitation is warmly romantic, then whirls upward against the quiver of the strings. Minor Thing is a hovering Coltrane-style lament and Blue Train is a flat-out triumph for Atzmon and pianist Frank Harrison, while Naima is a gentle dialogue with strings. It feels as if The Spirit of Trane, an emotional tribute to a master, comes closest to connecting the turbulent Gilad Atzmon’s heart and mind.

•The article was amended on 3 November to clarify its purpose, which is to review the music.

Contributor

John Fordham

The GuardianTramp

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