“The Cats” pulls out all of Prestige’s heavyweights for an all-star record comprised of John Coltrane, Kenny Burrell, Tommy Flanagan, and Idrees Sulieman. It’s a relatively standard hard-pop record that captures a rare moment of great jazz minds mingling. Though primarily meant to highlight pianist Flanagan, it’s also a notable album for Coltrane capturing his transition into more experimental harmonic solos.
The most celebrated jazz saxophonist in the history of the genre, John Coltrane pioneered the genre of modal jazz with the help of Miles Davis and directly developed free jazz. He also worked closely with great jazz pianist Thelonious Monk and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Following his recovery from heroin addiction, Coltrane became a very spiritual man. His newfound faith bled into some of his greatest '60s-era work. He died of liver cancer at 40 but changed the course of jazz and mainstream music as a whole during his short life.