John Coltrane (left) and Eric Dolphy on stage at New York City's Village Gate in the summer of 1961. A recording of the performance, thought to be lost, was recently discovered in the New York Public Library.Herb Snitzer / Courtesy of Impulse! defeated hide title
Herb Snitzer / Courtesy of Impulse! defeated
John Coltrane (left) and Eric Dolphy on stage at New York City's Village Gate in the summer of 1961. A recording of the performance, thought to be lost, was recently discovered in the New York Public Library.
Herb Snitzer / Courtesy of Impulse! defeated
Just over 60 years ago, the editor-in-chief ofBeat DownThe magazine asked John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy a deceptively simple question:What are you trying to do?Slightly reworded:What are you doing?The two sax players sat down for 30 seconds before Dolphy broke the silence. "That's a good question," he said.
HeBeat Downeditor, Don DeMicheal, printed this exchange in the April 1962 issue as part ofand fascinating articleheadlined "John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy Respond to Jazz Critics." Regular readers of the magazine would have known exactly what prompted this gesture: a scathing critique of Coltrane's quintet with Dolphy, in which he "denounced an anarchist course in their music that can only be described as anti-jazz".
1961 had been a productive and pivotal year for Coltrane. That spring, his elegant and moving quartet version of "My Favorite Things" was releasedthe sound of the music,it became a great success. But later that year, when he was signed to a new label, Impulse! Records, did not attach importance to commercial success. Instead, he explored new sounds and setups, often trying out ideas on the stand. One of those ideas was the addition of Dolphy, a hugely original voice on both reed and flute, and a close personal friend.
The fearless depth of their musical relationship takes center stage in a stunning new archive release,Evenings at the City Gate: John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy, WhichImpulse launches on July 14. Tomorrow, the label will be sharing a tentative track, "Impressions," featuring Coltrane on soprano sax and Dolphy on alto sax and bass clarinet, along with drummer Elvin Jones, pianist McCoy Tyner, and bassist Reggie Workman, who work together to make the song feel like something from a runaway train. (Until then, you can listen to it exclusively here.)
"Every time we worked with John," Workman, who is just a few weeks away from turning 86, tells NPR, "you could always hear the transitions in his music." This may have never been more true than here, in a shot taken during a month-long stay in the late summer of 1961.Tardes en Landsbyportenit actually starts with a version of "My Favorite Things" and ends with the polyrhythmic drone of "Africa". Coltrane was reinventing his language, and by extension the language of jazz.
"He got to a point where he didn't want to be hindered by the steps and changes dictated by certain structures," says Workman, adding, "He wanted us to be a song."
A photo of the marquee at New York's Village Gate announcing John Coltrane's Summer 1961 performances.Herb Snitzer / Courtesy of Impulse! defeated hide title
Herb Snitzer / Courtesy of Impulse! defeated
Landsbyporten was a large basement with a growing reputation in 1961, home to popular singers and comedians, as well as artists such as Nina Simone. Coltrane worked there in August as part of a triple bill, along with groups led by drummer Art Blakey and pianist Horace Silver. (A photo of the club's marquee taken by Herb Snitzer shows Coltrane with a foursome, highlighting how recently Dolphy had joined the fray.)
The Gate had a state-of-the-art sound system installed by an aspiring young engineer named Richard Alderson. One night during Coltrane's set, Alderson decided to test the system by capturing the tape with a single RCA ribbon microphone suspended above the stage with a line leading out to a reel-to-reel recorder. The tapes were never intended for public consumption, and in any case were not authorized, so Alderson set them aside. They found their way into a collection of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, where they were recently rediscovered by a Bob Dylan archivist.
Thanks to Impulse! defeated
For Coltrane admirers, jazz historians and anyone fascinated by the experimental end of improvised music,Tardes en Landsbyportenit will not only be a welcome new find, but also a link in a chain. Coltrane and Dolphy's frontline was short-lived, in part because it faced strong headwinds from the jazz establishment, but it left quite a legacy:Coltrane "Live" in Village Vanguard,recorded at another club in Greenwich Village in November 1961, the same month their rebellious production earned the indelible phrase "anti-jazz".
These Village Vanguard tapes, which later yielded a monumental four-disc set, are one of the most mysterious and intriguing documents in jazz history. A few years ago, Ben Ratliff, author ofColtrane: The story of a sound, placed this music in a cultural context of "ambivalent possibility", in a lively essay forWashington Posttitled "John Coltrane and the Essence of 1961.” He notes: “The music sounds post-heroic and precynical; strangely free from grandeur; full of room for the listener to find a place in it and make their own decisions".
Last week, after listening to the "Impressions" version ofafternoons at the door,Ratliff fleshed out this idea. "He's very hard to label or encapsulate, but he's so ferociously full of life," she said of the performance. "Musicians know how cool this is and they know how exciting it is, but beyond that they don't really know much and nothing has been mentioned yet. There's a lot of unknown here."
What came next for Coltrane was the most stable period of his career, as he strengthened his quartet's staff (Tyner, Jones and bassist Jimmy Garrison, who can be heard on Village Vanguard's body parts) and made respected albums. e.gHalf Moon, BalladsjA supreme love.Dolphy broke away and refocused on his own visionary music, making powerful statements right up until his tragic, untimely death, from a diabetic coma in 1964. (Coltrane died of liver cancer just three years later). In recent years, archival publications have yielded revelations. from both saxophonists, butEvenings at the Gateit's a window into the early blooming of their collaboration, where it must have felt like a pure opportunity for everyone involved.
A photograph of Eric Dolphy (left) and John Coltrane taken by Herb Snitzer performing at New York's Village Gate in 1961.Herb Snitzer / Courtesy of Impulse! defeated hide title
Herb Snitzer / Courtesy of Impulse! defeated
The 80-minute album is guaranteed to revive the conversation about a budding phase in music. to live. troubled development. And it's worth remembering some of the response he eventually gave to DeMicheal for the pieceDownBeat.
"I think the most important thing a musician wants to do is give the listener a picture of the many wonderful things they know and feel in the universe," Coltrane said, not sounding the least bit defensive. “That's what music is to me, it's just another way of saying it's a big beautiful universe we live in that's been given to us, and here's an example of how big and vast it is. That's what I want to do. I think it's one of the best things you can do in life, and we all try to do that one way or another. The musician is through his music."
John studied clarinet and alto saxophone as a youth and then moved to Philadelphia in 1943 and continued his studies at the Ornstein School of Music and the Granoff Studios. He was drafted into the navy in 1945 and played alto sax with a navy band until 1946; he switched to tenor saxophone in 1947.Who was inspired by John Coltrane? ›
- Ada Rovatti. saxophone.
- Adam Claussen. saxophone.
- Adam Nolan. saxophone.
- Aengus Hackett. guitar.
- Albert Rivera. saxophone, tenor.
- Aldo Salvent. saxophone, tenor.
- Alessandro Di Liberto. piano.
- Alex Coke & Carl Michel Sextet. band / orchestra.
John Coltrane purchased the house for his family after leaving the U.S.Navy and lived there until he relocated to New York City in 1958. He continued to use the house as an alternate residence to his New York home until the end of his life. Upon his death the house passed to Coltrane's cousin, Mary Alexander.What were Robbie Coltrane's last words? ›
Last Words For Hagrid, Robbie Coltrane death
In fact, Robbie Coltrane also, in the last of his words for Hagrid, said, “The legacy of the movies is that my children's generation will show them to their children so that you could be watching it in 50 years' time. I'll not be here, sadly.
It is one of the three principal saxophones that Coltrane played during his career. The saxophone, which was donated to the Smithsonian by Coltrane's son, is on display through April 30 in the National Museum of American History's LeFrak Lobby.Who played at Coltrane's funeral? ›
John Coltrane knew he was dying and specifically requested that Ornette play at his funeral service.Did John Coltrane have children? ›
The sax is one of two that Coltrane's family are selling to fund the John Coltrane Foundation; aficionados will spot it from the front cover of Coltrane's Live in Japan set. And as for the price? The sax will set you back $115,000, but the shipping's free.Who bought John Coltrane his first saxophone? ›
In June 1943, shortly after graduating from high school, Coltrane and his family moved to Philadelphia, where he got a job at a sugar refinery. In September that year, his 17th birthday, his mother bought him his first saxophone, an alto.What innovation was John Coltrane best known for? ›
John Coltrane, also known as "Trane", was one of the most important figures in 20th century jazz, particularly in the twelve years between 1955 and 1967. During this time, his experiments with the tenor and soprano saxophones involving intense improvisation led to the evolution of Hard Bop from Bebop.What is John Coltrane's best selling album? ›
The best-selling album by JOHN COLTRANE is A LOVE SUPREME, which sold over 1,139,110 copies .What is the most famous John Coltrane? ›
Widely regarded as Coltrane's masterpiece and one of the greatest jazz albums of all time, A Love Supreme was recorded in 1964 and takes the form of a four-part suite: 'Acknowledgement', 'Resolution', 'Pursuance' and 'Psalm'.What is the philosophy of John Coltrane? ›
Coltrane consistently resists religious sectarianism, political factionalism and narrow moralism. In particular, Coltrane'' philosophical theology of music offers us a model not just of the rapprochement of ethics and aesthetics, but of a thoroughly individual and at the same time unlimitedly God-devoted way of living.Who owns the rights to John Coltrane's music? ›
BMG has fully acquired New York independent Verse Music Group for an undisclosed fee, including publishing and recordings copyrights from the likes of Nina Simone, Duke Ellington, Johnny Cash, John Coltrane and Bing Crosby.Who was the piano player with John Coltrane? ›
Alfred McCoy Tyner (December 11, 1938 – March 6, 2020) was an American jazz pianist and composer known for his work with the John Coltrane Quartet (from 1960 to 1965) and his long solo career afterwards.What was John Coltrane's religion? ›
Coltrane was careful to say that while he was raised Christian, his searchings had led him to realize that all religions had a piece of the truth. Only once did Coltrane perform the entire "Love Supreme" suite live, and there are no recorded interviews in which he talks about the album's personal significance.What was Robbie Coltrane suffering from? ›
Robbie Coltrane died from multiple organ failure after suffering from number of conditions. Coltrane, 72, was suffering from sepsis, lower respiratory tract infection, Type 2 Diabetes, heart block and obesity.
“The legacy of the movies is that my children's generation will show them to their children,” Coltrane says in his final interview, at the very end of the special. “You can be watching it in 50 years time, easy.” Then, he adds with a laugh, “I'll not be here, sadly.What kind of illness did Robbie Coltrane have? ›
British tabloid The Mirror reported Coltrane died on October 14 of sepsis, a lower respiratory tract infection and heart block.What was John Coltrane's last song? ›
The Olatunji Concert: The Last Live Recording is the Impulse! Records-released final live recording of saxophonist John Coltrane, recorded April 23, 1967, at the Olatunji Center of African Culture in New York and released on Compact Disc in 2001.What kind of mouthpiece did John Coltrane use? ›
Coltrane used a metal Otto Link mouthpiece.What mouthpiece did Phil Woods use? ›
For much of his career Phil Woods played an un-modified New York Meyer 5M given to him by a friend in the 1950's. The Drake Phil Woods model mouthpiece is an exact reproduction of this treasured piece of history.Why didn t Rupert Grint go to Coltrane funeral? ›
Coltrane's passing was “particularly tough” for Grint, who described the actor as “the most wonderful being”. However, Grint said he did not know Coltrane “outside work”, so opted to not go to his funeral and instead paid tribute to his friend online.Why did Rupert Grint not attend Robbie Coltrane's funeral? ›
Speaking to GQ, Grint said that he saw Coltrane, Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) and Richard Harris (Albus Dumbledore in the first two movies) as family. However, Grint noted that he didn't really know Coltrane “outside of work”, which is why he didn't attend his funeral.Did Daniel Radcliffe attend Robbie Coltrane funeral? ›
Despite not attending Robbie Coltrane's funeral, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson paid their tributes and condolences through social media and press statements. The three actors played the iconic Harry, Ron, and Hermione, respectively, in the wizarding franchise.What are 2 interesting facts about John Coltrane? ›
- He played several instruments. Besides being a professional at the saxophone, Coltrane studied alto sax, clarinet, and tenor sax.
- He had musical influences. ...
- His first gig was at 19. ...
- He had a brief drug addiction. ...
- He was always traveling.
He switched his instrument first from clarinet to alto saxophone, then again to tenor sax, and the city's bustling jazz scene offered many opportunities for both learning and playing.
A man with higher self-regard might have struck back or at least walked away for good, but Coltrane was an extremely humble, non-violent man. And with a young family and a growing habit to support, he desperately needed the pay.What is the rarest saxophone? ›
The soprillo, or sopranissimo, saxophone is also a rare instrument. At 33cm long, its highest note is an octave above a soprano saxophone and the corresponding key is positioned in the mouthpiece.Who is the best alto sax player of all time? ›
Charlie Parker is often cited as the greatest saxophone player in history. Parker, nicknamed Yardbird, or Bird for short, elevated jazz from entertaining dance music to the highest form of spontaneous artistic expression.What is the most expensive saxophone ever? ›
The most valuable jazz instrument is a saxophone once owned by Charlie Parker which sold for £;93,500 (US $144,747) at Christie's South Kensington, London, UK on 7 September 1994.Which sax was made first? ›
The name “saxophone” doesn't just refer to one instrument, but to a family of them. The designer of the saxophone, Belgian-born inventor Adolphe Sax, initially applied for 14 instrument patents on this day in 1846.Who was the 1st great saxophone player in jazz? ›
“Sidney Bechet was, by an impressive margin of several years, the first great jazz saxophonist.” One day in 1920 a trumpeter in his very early twenties and a clarinettist, who may not have been much older, were walking down London's Wardour Street.Who was the first famous saxophone player? ›
The first-ever saxophone player was the man who invented it, Adolphe Sax who was a Belgian musical instrument maker in the 1800s.
Coltrane tried to squeeze every possible harmonic implication into his solo – play every possible chord and every possible scale for each chord. This is still a vertical approach because we have chosen our scales and arpeggios based on the chord.What is one interesting fact about John Coltrane? ›
Coltrane was addicted to heroin in the 1950s, quit cold turkey, and later said he had heard the voice of God during his brutal withdrawal. He became a deeply religious man and believed music was a force for good. "I want to be a force for real good," he told Jazz magazine.Who invented modal jazz? ›
Despite Davis's distinction as the pioneer of modal jazz, the framework for modal thinking owes as much credit to Russell and his Concept. Russell's search in the 1950s for a scale of “unity”—a scale that could embody the sound of a chord— was a primary influence on Davis's development at the end of the decade.
Michael Jackson's Thriller, estimated to have sold 70 million copies worldwide, is the best-selling album ever. Jackson also currently has the highest number of albums on the list with five, Celine Dion has four, while the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Madonna and Whitney Houston each have three.What's considered the best-selling jazz album of all time? ›
1. Miles Davis: Kind of Blue. Kind of Blue (1959) is the top jazz album on most 'best-of' lists and is cited as jazz's biggest-seller.Who is the best-selling performer of all time? ›
Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales. Second is Garth Brooks with over 157 million units sales, followed by Elvis Presley with 139 million units.Is John Coltrane in the Hall of Fame? ›
Inducted into Rock Hall Revisited in 2003 (ranked #8 in the Influences - Rock Era category) .Is John Coltrane in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? ›
What we changed: Sticking with the jazz theme, John Coltrane becomes the first artist not in the actual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that we added to our version. We also moved up the Inductions of Etta James, The Shirelles and Bob Marley, who also gets in with the original Wailers (Something the Rock Hall didn't do).What is the longest Coltrane solo? ›
John Coltrane's longest solo on record is the 27 minute and 39 second track One Down, One Up on the live album, Live at the Half Note.What was John Coltrane's spirituality? ›
' Above all Coltrane now had a luminous spirituality. 'During the year 1957 I experienced by the grace of God a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time in gratitude I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music.What was John Coltrane's first instrument? ›
Coltrane played the clarinet and the alto horn in a community band before taking up the alto saxophone during high school. In 1947, when he joined King Kolax's band, Coltrane switched to tenor saxophone, the instrument he became known for playing primarily.What is the meaning of Alabama by John Coltrane? ›
"Alabama" is a grief-stricken eulogy but also reflects a determination to continue the struggle against racism. There are some elite musicians who can penetrate your soul with the tone of a single note. From the moment Coltrane begins to play, the pain over the loss of life in Birmingham is audible.Where did John Coltrane live when he died? ›
His last home, the John Coltrane Home in the Dix Hills district of Huntington, New York, where he resided from 1964 until his death, was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 29, 2007.
Coltrane had severe osteoarthritis, which left him with "no cartilage" in one of his knees.Who performed at John Coltrane's funeral? ›
I've read so much about Coltrane but never knew that both Albert Ayler (still alive in 1967) and Ornette Coleman played at his funeral. I found an audio clip of Albert Ayler performing at the service.What type of saxophone did John Coltrane play? ›
He switched his instrument first from clarinet to alto saxophone, then again to tenor sax, and the city's bustling jazz scene offered many opportunities for both learning and playing.What has Robbie Coltrane died? ›
He had been ill for two years prior to his death. His death was registered by his ex-wife Rhona Gemmell; the death certificate listed the causes as multiple organ failure complicated by sepsis, a lower respiratory tract infection, and heart block. He had also been diagnosed with obesity and type 2 diabetes.What condition did Hagrid have? ›
Hagrid star's health condition revealed in certificate
According to a number of reports, Coltrane died from multiple organ failure. According to his death certificate, the actor, who played Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter franchise, had been suffering from sepsis, lower respiratory tract infection and heart block.
According to the actor, he had been suffering from osteoarthritis for many years, which caused him extreme pain and severely constrained his movement. During his later years, he relied on a walking stick and a wheelchair.What was the autopsy of Robbie Coltrane? ›
The death certificate detailed that Coltrane suffered from sepsis, lower respiratory tract infection and heart block before his passing.What was Coltrane's masterpiece album called? ›
Widely regarded as Coltrane's masterpiece and one of the greatest jazz albums of all time, A Love Supreme was recorded in 1964 and takes the form of a four-part suite: 'Acknowledgement', 'Resolution', 'Pursuance' and 'Psalm'.What was Coltrane's pop hit entitled? ›
John Coltrane. John Coltrane recorded A Love Supreme in December of 1964 and released it the following year.Where was John Coltrane's last concert? ›
Two weeks after his concert at Olatunji's Center For African Culture in Harlem, which was fortunately captured on tape for radio broadcast, Coltrane made his final professional appearance at the Famous Ballroom in Baltimore on May 7, 1967, fifty years ago this month.