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Universal Is Shameless

20 July 2007

How did Universal Music Group celebrate the 40th anniversary of the July 17, 1967 death of John Coltrane? By continuing to milk his catalog for all it’s worth.

The most recent example, released on July 3, is My Favorite Things: Coltrane at Newport. It combines Trane’s 1963 and ‘65 Newport concerts on one CD. The vast majority of this material has been available before.

What’s new? Not a track, but part of a track. The ‘63 “Impressions” is now 23:30 instead of its previous 15:40.

Now, I’m pretty completist when it comes to Coltrane, but I have so far resisted this MSLP $11.97 disc. Granted, I work at a record store, I would get it wholesale for less than $8. But it would still be about a dollar a minute!

I did, however, check iTunes just in case I could buy the track for 99 cents. Fat chance. The only track available by itself? The MC’s introduction of the band. Way to rub it in, Universal!

UMG should be giving that complete “Impressions” for free to everybody who bought Newport ‘63 with its edited version, and should issue a public apology for having cut it in the first place.

(For a more positive perspective on Coltrane’s legacy, here’s my look at 11 of his best albums.)


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