The complete career of a great musician

By David Hajdu
Updated July 22, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

Looking for a route into jazz from rock & roll? Take the Coltrane. With this career-spanning two-CD set, The Last Giant, you see not only where John Coltrane was heading when he died in 1967, but where Hendrix and Prince came from. Included are a sampling of this artist’s masterpieces (“Trane’s Blues,” from his breakout stint with the Miles Davis Quintet; the essential “Giant Steps”) plus some precious rarities: his first recording (a jam session with a ragtag Navy band), a swinging live date with the Johnny Hodges Orchestra, and a snippet from a spacey concert just a few weeks before his death. A truly giant career neither abridged nor reshaped but glimpsed with complete clarity. A