Red Hot on Impulse!

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COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: GRP
WORKS: Red Hot on Impulse!
PERFORMER: Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, John Coltrane, Oliver Nelson, Max Roach, Charles Mingus, Archie Shepp
CATALOGUE NO: 11512 (distr. New Note)

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In the Sixties, Impulse! was home to what Philip Larkin described as ‘polycacophony’. John Coltrane’s sheets of sound, Pharoah Sanders’s hair-raising split reed and Archie Shepp’s wall were anathema to the dyspeptic critic. He’d be alarmed to find the label’s black and orange spines returning to the shelves in the Nineties, and its recordings invoked by disciples of another new wave in the music, acid jazz.

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This compilation, part of GRP’s re-release programme, celebrates some of jazz music’s most spirited, often spiritual moments. It also forms a link with last year’s best-selling Red Hot + Cool, a collection of new recordings which raided Impulse! originals for samples. Brimming with Sixties-style peace and love, it is music for driving out demons still. (I think I can hear Larkin turning.) Garry Booth