🎵 I bought the new John Coltrane album on release day, but haven’t given it a critical listen until today. This review feels accurate to me:
Whatever reticence a listener might experience with the new album isn’t musicological but emotional: the spiritual temperature of the music is lower, its moments of glorious invention have a logical and inviting air that never quite matches the self-exploring, self-transcending volatility of Coltrane’s very best recordings, whether made in concert or in the studio. “Both Directions at Once” is a marker of Coltrane’s work at the time rather than the very best of it. It’s as if the band were displaying what it is that they do when they do it, without quite doing it.
It is still, in my opinion, an essential Coltrane album. But it’s not his best.