Kostas Metaxas T-RX Tape Deck Review

April 10, 2022 § Leave a comment

It was around this time that Coltrane began experimenting with his so-called “sheets of sound” improvisational style. Though I recognize what that phrase, coined by Downbeat’s Ira Gitler in 1958 for his liner notes to Soultrane, refers to, the words somehow seem inadequate, if not a bit misleading. Maybe that’s because I (perhaps unfairly) think they imply mere virtuosity, a headlong rush to sound as many notes as can be sounded in a given intake of breath, without a corresponding demonstration of the musical reasoning behind the admittedly awesome showmanship. Oh, the virtuosity is there, God knows—just try “Trinkle, Tinkle” from this album—but so is the reasoning.
To hear clearly what I’m talking about you need…well, you need a T-RX. Through the Tourbillon, you’ll hear every note in those “sheets” of sound—’Trane’s high-speed arpeggios and diminished scales, the “three-in-one” chords that Monk taught him, the sixteenth-note quintuplets and septuplets, often played so quickly that, as one jazz critic noted, they seem to liquify from arpeggios into glissandos—and you’ll hear them with the “spin,” the harmonic/dynamic/temporal nuances that Coltrane added to each and every one. Rather than uniform sheets of sound, this avalanche of notes is like tiny beads of varying shape and color, dangling, curtain-like, from a horizontal melody and root-modal line that Coltrane is oh-so-careful to remind you of, by adding just a little stress or duration to key melodic notes.

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