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Zwee Dot: How Kelly Sill Listens to Music – Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes”

Updated: Feb 3, 2020

by Kelly Sill

In this month’s “Zwee Dot” Kelly Sill shares his listening notes for John Coltrane’s rendering of Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes” from the 1962 Impulse! release, Coltrane.

Click here to read a review of Waldron’s rerelease, Free At Last: Extended Anniversary Edition.

“Soul Eyes”

From the recording


1962, Impulse! Records

John Coltrane – Tenor saxophone

McCoy Tyner – Piano

Jimmy Garrison – String bass

Elvin Jones – Drums

0:02 The cut begins

0:07 The whole sound is really beautiful

0:16 Trane is playing with real affection

0:23 And McCoy understands exactly how to voice for Trane

0:27 The anguish in the melody at this point is palatable

0:32 Dig how delicate that note is!

0:37 And it goes from C minor to G major; the sun comes out!

0:43 Just beautiful

0:51 And going back around to the second A

1:15 I barely hear Elvin; that’s different for him

1:19 Same tenderness as before

1:27 This time to G half-diminished; much darker

1:40 Ending the chorus with a major resolution

1:45 McCoy knows just what to do; and Jimmy is perfect

1:53 And into double-time, with Elvin being completely there

2:03 Nice reharmonization; very playful

2:12 Jimmy supporting McCoy quite nicely

2:23 Really a playful solo!

2:28 There’s Elvin grunting

2:36 Second half; they’re playing really well together

2:49 This is so buoyant!

2:57 Beautiful rendition of the harmony

3:06 Coming back around to the end of the chorus

3:18 Man; beautiful block chords!

3:24 Trane is in

3:27 They’re keeping the double-time

3:35 Coltrane sounds like he wants to go back to ballad time

3:45 No—he’s clearly in double-time

3:51 Man, their understanding of harmony is incredible!

3:59 The G major section is gorgeous

4:13 And to the out-head on the second half

4:19 Back to ballad time

4:29 What a sound!

4:45 Bringing it down

4:52 McCoy’s harmony!

5:08 Like a flower

5:11 E flat major to B major to E flat major; I’ve heard that a lot

5:21 Another great cut!


Kelly Sill has been a mainstay of the Chicago jazz scene for more than 45 years. After receiving his bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he moved to Chicago. 

He has since performed and recorded with a vast array of jazz artists, including Art Blakey, Joe Henderson, Art Farmer, Eddie Jefferson, Clark Terry, Cedar Walton, Herb Ellis, Woody Shaw, Hank Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Burrell, Barney Kessel, Chris Potter, Ernie Watts, Bob Mintzer, Mel Torme, Anita O'Day, Janice Borla, Jack Mouse, Jackie McLean, Joey DeFrancesco, Donald Byrd, Bobby Watson, Eddie Harris, Scott Hamilton, Victor Lewis, Clifford Jordan, Bucky Pizzarelli, and many more. 

He has performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival, Ravinia Festival, the Elkhart Jazz Festival, the Red Sea Jazz Festival, the Thessaloniki Concert Hall in Greece, and Symphony Center (Orchestra Hall) in Chicago.

Kelly has served on the faculties of Northwestern University, Interlochen Arts Academy, Northeastern Illinois University, Lake Forest College, DePaul University, and Northern Illinois University. He currently teaches at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. For questions or comments please contact him at or visit his website at

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