Unlike last year’s hugely successful Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album from 1963, which was mostly unreleased (though previously known about) sessions with a track included on earlier Impulse! compilations, Blue World is somewhat of a mystery having not been uncovered before. It’s not mentioned in Coltrane session lists or reference books, but turns out to be tracks recorded by the classic quartet with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones, for a Quebec film director Gilles Grouix, who was making Le Chat Dans Le Sac (The Cat In The Bag), a French New Wave movie set in Montreal.
Grouix was a big Coltrane fan who was also friends with Jimmy Garrison, and Coltrane agreed to record some pieces for the film at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in June 1964, just after Crescent was tracked and before he went into record A Love Supreme in December. The new album features new versions of previously recorded Coltrane compositions, including ‘Like Sonny’ and ‘Traneing In’, two takes of ‘Naima’ and three takes of ‘Village Blues’. The title-track, ‘Blue World’ (listen to the clip below), is a stunning new waltz time piece built on a brooding rhythm section vamp which uses similar chord changes to the Harold Arlen composed ‘Out Of This World’, which Coltrane covered on the album Coltrane from 1962, and the album includes sleeve-notes from Coltrane expert Ashley Kahn. Ultimately, only 10 minutes of music was used for the film soundtrack and, according to Rolling Stone magazine, the recording was not heard about again until Impulse! received it from the National Film Board of Canada last year. Given the quality of the title-track alone, Impulse! have a winner on their hands which should equal the acclaim and national chart placings of Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album.