It is possible to hear conviction and morality in some of the classic quartet’s best-known music—like the devotional A Love Supreme, recorded in late 1964—as clearly as you can hear melody or rhythm…

A fair amount of Coltrane’s music has been released after the fact, but nothing that would seem, from a distance, quite so canonical as Both Directions At Once, which is 90 minutes worth of (mostly) previously unheard recordings made at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio on March 6, 1963—the middle of the classic-quartet period. The Van Gelder studio, in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, can be considered part of the framing device. It was where the group did nearly all its studio work. For reasons of acoustics, it had a 39-foot-high, cathedral-like, vaulted wooden ceiling, fabricated by the same Oregon lumber company that made blimp hangars during World War II. Coltrane’s music during that period, possibly encouraged by the cathedral-like room, became blimpier and churchier…

It is possible to take in Both Directions At Once, some of it middling by Coltrane’s standards and some of it extraordinary by anyone’s, without much thought about sellability or progress. In an ideal case, both qualities are overrated anyway. This is an ideal case.  – Ben Ratliff, Pitchfork 

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