Deep Cuts: John Coltrane with the Red Garland Trio "Traneing In" (1957)

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Just because I haven’t written a whole lot about John Coltrane up to this point doesn’t mean I don’t seriously revere the man’s music. But what is there left to be said about Coltrane that hasn’t already been said with much more eloquent words than I can muster?

There are, however, a few Trane tunes I love that I rarely see get much mention. His rendition of the Billy Strayhorn classic composition “Lush Life,” for instance, is perhaps the best version I’ve ever heard. “Central Park West” is a lovely tune in its original form even if Joe Lovano later topped it. And then there’s the title cut from that 1957 session he co-headlined with pianist Red Garland called “Traneing In.”

Both John Coltrane and Red Garland were in Miles Davis’ quintet in the mid-fifties but ‘Trane at the time was temporarily out of it and woodshedding under Thelonius Monk. Meanwhile, Red was still in it but heading up his own little trio on the side. And what a trio it was: Paul Chambers and Art Taylor, both of whom were also recent members of Davis’ combo.

“Traneing In” is a simple, straight blues number concocted by JC, and it’s perfectly suited for not just him, but perhaps even more so for Garland. Red’s traditional sounding mixture of single line and block chords was always heavily blues-based. He starts soloing around the blues figures almost as soon as the song starts and playfully dances around it with his right hand while the left occasionally throws in reference chords. After a while, he’s playing full chords with both hands, grooving with a nice sense of rhythm.

Trane makes his grand entrance at the 3:36 mark and starts out blowing long notes before launching into his unmatched ability to play several notes at the same time (still a newly acquired trait at that time). Still several years away from his avant garde tendencies, Trane’s notes don’t stray often from a pretty tight range, but they’re all the right notes and played flawlessly and clarity, despite the speed at which he’s playing them at times. After several minutes of sizzling “sheets of sound” he finally gives way to Paul Chambers.

Coming on the heels of a John Coltrane solo makes this probably one of the rare times you’re bound to be disappointed to hear Paul Chambers do his thing on acoustic bass. But Chambers is clearly playing as loose as the others, even throwing in a reference to “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” for unsuspecting listeners.

Both Red and Trane return for shorter solos before the legendary saxman take the proceedings to the end.

You can point to a truckload of tracks where John Coltrane reached greater heights than on this early-career recording but the appeal of this song lies in its groove and how the players milk it for all its worth. For all the high-falutin’ flights of fancy Coltrane became known for later, he could always appeal to listeners at a gut level when he wanted to. As on a pleasing finger-snapper like “Traneing In.”

Listen: John Coltrane with the Red Garland Trio “Traneing In”

Purchase: John Coltrane with the Red Garland Trio – Traneing In

“One Track Mind” is a more-or-less weekly drool over a single song selected on a whim and a short thesis on why you should be drooling over it, too.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on,, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at
S. Victor Aaron
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