Tag Archives: be bop

Best Yard Bird 99th Event: 21 Toot Salute in Los Angeles


August 29th is a very famous birthday for various people..One for Michael Jackson so-called King of Pop, but this one is about the King of Be Bop Saxophonists Charlie Parker or, aka, Yard Bird! The Jazz community in Leimert Park was honoring the “Bird” on his 99 birthday.

Parker a 34 year old man died in March 1955, months before his 35th Birthday. Before that happened, Yard Bird or “Charlie’ was known as the absolute truth on jazz saxophone. Most youngsters or vet musicians wanted to play and sound like him..some even went to the pits of hell with major drugs and its abuse to follow the Bird. After saying all that, Robert J. Carmack wrote a play about the man, about the two inner-men other that “Bird,” Most people knew nothing about.. the others were the man as Father, Husband and musical genius!. Carmack’s play was not being performed, but a fictional dramatic scene from the tragic story of Parker through the eyes of a person who only wanted to be loved and to love those as he loved the music.

The amazing evening’s entertainment package consisted of a hand picked group of L.A. experienced musicians and a newcomer that’s trending very positive as a budding master of Jazz. Drummer/percussionist-Don Littleton’s Super Trio :James Leary Bass, Robert “Bobby” Pierce piano, Jazz soloists were Randall Willis Alto, Charles Owens Tenor and jazz sensation Chris Astoquillca on alto. Host/MC: Robert J. Carmack- producer, writer and actor.

The enthusiastic audience were up clapping and yelling from their seats because the musicians were off into another gear, especially young saxophonist Chris Astoquillca. who was let loose in second set and He did not disappoint. The buzz around Leimert Park Village the NEXT day told the true story. Chris made an IMPRESSION on the veteran players and the audience. Carmack is thinking ahead and looking forward to the followup event in November, Thanksgiving weekend…

POCKET JAZZ PRESENTS: CTI RECORDs Tribute ~ California Concert Redux 2! November 2019 music of Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine , Esther Phillips, Hank Crawford,Grover Washington,George Benson and other surprises..follow us on face book ~ Pocket Jazz Presents..#CaliforniaConcertRedux2

Robert J. Carmack has already begun discussions around presenting the entire play in August of 2020. Carmack has planned for a multi-night special event in 2020, on Charlie Parker Birthday next year in both Los Angeles, and San Francisco.. a Play – Night of Poets and Jazz Nu Beat Poets Society and Visual Artists(Painters,Sculptors and Assemblage art.

Producer/ Pocket Jazz Presents with Blues & Jazz singer/entrepreneur, Barbara Morrison outside the Barbara Morrison Theater LA Calif.

COMING SOON New Jazz Legends Series Pocket Jazz Presents! 2019/2020

About the producer: Robert J. Carmack He was first exposed to jazz in the late 1950s, as a kid watching the Steve Allen show. He would play with famous musicians, Robert liked the sound, He did not know the name of it. One day while watching the Dobie Gillis show with Maynard, who was a beatnik, said he would do anything to sit-in with Thelonious Monk playing Bongos.. years later, as young Robert was just starting out in music as a saxophone player, he heard a record by a friend’s big brother, who said “this is Monk’s, well you needn’t.” He made the earlier connection from his childhood, now a teenage player in a band, Carmack was hip and cool with his Tam and sunglasses .. Now all the young girls loved it because, He was different than the other guys.

Carmack went on to play professionally under a undisclosed stage name, for 25+ years, then due to medical issues became a writer of jazz history and avid fan of great players. As a writer / producer or blogger, He has worked, interviewed or promoted such luminaries as, McCoy Tyner, Doug Carn, Azar Lawrence, Bobby Womack, Commodores, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Fortune, Andy Bey, Mandrill/Lowrider band, Acknowledgement, Juini Booth/ LA Fog Band and the Sun Ra Tribute with R J Carmack & Juini Booth. contact: blues2jazz2003@yahoo.com~ @blues2jazzguy , or just follow on this site http://www.hipstersanctuary.com

posted by Kamaad Tauhid @blues2jazzguy

SHANA TUCKER DEBUT AT DETROIT’S CLIFF BELLS ~ ONE NIGHT ONLY


posted by Robert J. Carmack  #@blues2jazzguy

Shana Tucker Chamber Soul artist
Shana Tucker Chamber Soul artist

shanatucker_credit

The lovely and talented singer-multi-instrumentalist, Shana Tucker makes her first trip into the motor city,binging her special brand of Chamber Soul to

CLIFF BELL’S
Thursday, October 22, 2015       @ 8 & 9:30 PM
2030 Park Avenue, Detroit MI 48226

———————————————————–

CLIFF BELL’S, the historic downtown jazz club (a few blocks from the Windsor Tunnel). Supported by a stellar rhythm section, Detroit’s Finest: Jon Dixon (piano/keys), Kamau (bass), and Alex White (drums), it’s all going down this THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22, with two sets at 8:00 and 9:30 PM..

~ The Bill Heid Piano Trio ~

“Her voice alone would support a career. What makes Tucker special is her adherence to the cello, boldly taking the instrument into new territory.” -INDYWEEK.COM

Shana Tucker is a singer-songwriter and cellist who credits her genre-bending ChamberSoul™ journey to the influences of her jazz and classical roots, interwoven with 80’s & 90’s pop music, movie soundtracks, and world music.

Shana Tucker Detroit

Shana’s journey as a solo artist began in 2009, when she arrived in Durham, NC and quickly became a staple in the vibrant Triangle music scene. INDYWEEK.COM  writes, “Indeed, crossovers and connections are a central theme of Tucker’s career, from the cello’s liminal range to her interests in various genres.

Her debut album SHiNE corrodes the music industry boundaries between classical, jazz, folk, R&B and soul. Triangle Arts & Entertainment notes Shana as “a complex musician who offers not only a world-class voice that rivals that of Cleo Laine or Diana Krall, but also is an accomplished cellist…able to compete with musicians who make their living simply by playing one instrument…”she carves out a space that is intrinsically hers”.

http://www.shanatucker.com/

PATRICE RUSHEN & CARMEN LUNDY HIGHLIGHT 39TH ANNUAL WATTS TOWERS JAZZ FESTIVAL


posted by Robert J. Carmack  #@blues2jazzguy

Patrice Rushen and Carmen lundy
file photo by Robert Carmack Patrice Rushen & Carmen Lundy shown at Ford Theater Hollywood

Once in a lunar eclipse weekend you might get some pretty good entertainment in selected spots around Los Angeles, but to get great jazz, that requires planning ahead and research. for the last 39 years , in an unlikely area of south central Los Angeles wedged between a Junior high school , railroad tracks, some proud residents, and a Los Angeles landmark , built by an immigrant, Simon Rhodia of concrete, steel and broken glass.

The Watts Towers Jazz Festival took its familiar bow September 26 & 27th . The festival features a “Day of the Drum“, with supporting activities of all cultures and ethnicities celebration of drums, throw in Jazz from around the world by local, regional and international musicians performing on a live stage that looked like a revival tent. This writer had planned in advance to get there in time to catch Carmen Lundy & Patrice Rushen performing as single acts , but also together as well.

carmen Lundy
carmen Lundy

Carmen took the stage with her own group featuring her iconic bassist and brother, Curtis Lundy. After a couple of hot jazz numbers , Carmen called up Patrice to sit in with her group on  selections from  her 14th new CD as a leader. Rushen was simply stellar in her improvisations on cuts like “Life is a Song in Me” and title track, “Soul to Soul”. In my humble opinion , this is Grammy material. grab a copy at your usual source for purchasing   music online.

Patrice Rushen  and Ndugu are both products of the Watts community ,while being alumni of Locke High school under the mentorship of musician /Educator Reggie Andrews.  Patrice and Ndugu fronted an all-star band of Nedra Wheeler on Bass and Justo Almario on saxophone, Munyungo Jackson on percussion. In their set they chose to celebrate the genius of several iconic jazz masters, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver, and a couple of others to the audience’s delight. 

Chuk Koton- Patrice Rushen
photo by Chuck Koton

Weekend’s events were beautifully MC’d by Jazz program host James Janisse, and Poet Laureate and Griot ,Kamau Daood.

Jazz drummer Fritz Wise, Poet/Jazz griot Kamau Daood with Music journalist Robert J. Carmack
Jazz drummer Fritz Wise, Poet/Jazz griot Kamau Daood with Music journalist Robert J. Carmack @ Watts Towers Jazz Festival photo by Joyce Wilson

hand made Quilt made by artist, Ramesses
hand made Quilt made by artist, Ramesses

Patrice Rush NOW WATTS

HAPPY 85 TO JAZZ LEGENDARY SAXOPHONIST SONNY ROLLINS !


posted by robert j. carmack  #@blues2jazzguy

SONNY ROLLINS  SEPTEMBER 7 1930

Sonny Rollins MOHAWK
Sonny Rollins in 1959 w Mohawk

Sonny Mohawk 3 Rollins
Prestige Records Golden Sonny Rollins

Sonny Rollins turned 85 years old today . its hard to believe ,not because of his age, but, in spite of his age. He still holds court somewhere in the world on major stages blowing long, multi-note phrases, swinging  violently on the most miniscule of sub-themes set up by his own improvisations. Very few things are more exciting than watching and listening to Sonny Rollins in Beast mode. My first experience seeing and hearing him was as a curious child watching 1950s television, that just happened to have a jazz band playing that night. I saw this really cool looking black man with a shiny horn , sun glasses and a Mohawk. I think it was Steve Allen or Jack Parr’s version of the The Tonight Show.    Sonny Rollins was more than a jazz musician, he was a mentor to other jazz musicians, cultural and fashion icon whose influences went beyond the bandstand as well. He was the first black man I ever saw with a Mohawk (1959)..Quite the dresser on stage when he wanted to, He was the first I ever saw with clean-shaved head(1960s) and diamond-studded Ascot.

My first live Sonny Rollins concert, I was now 21 and living in Los Angeles 1971, he was performing at the museum of modern Art outside.. I watched with such wide-eyed delight as he swung so hard on unbelievable tempos, countered that with such tender,velvety arpeggios like he did on such classics as, I Can’t Get Started or Don’t Blame Me. Fast-forward to late 1990s and I’m now living in Atlanta Georgia watching a much older man with full head of snow-white hair and full beard, with a very nice suit with red “Chuck Taylor” Converse basketball shoes.  This time his band personnel was young guys except for his long-time bassist Bob Cranshaw. The results were still the same…long-winded solos on jazz standards and some west indian folk songs    paying homage to Rollins’ West Indian roots.

Sonny at Newport 2001
Sonny at Newport 2001

This man has appeared in countless numbers of countries on even more super numbers of stages,over (7) seven decades of playing professionally and like a great Rolls Royce classic, even though high milage, He still purrs and runs like new.

Well done sir! Happy Birthday Sonny, keep coming back!

ICONIC JAZZ SAXOPHONIST PHIL WOODS PERFORMS LAST CONCERT


posted by Robert J.Carmack

It was announced recently at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburg,Pennsylvania that alto saxophonist and NEA Jazz Master Phil Woods  is retiring from performing because of challenging health issues. Woods was on hand to lead a local trio and the Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra in a swinging reprisal of the Charlie Parker With Strings album. 

Phil Woods photos by Nate Guidry
Phil Woods photos by Nate Guidry

Well, it was a historic concert but, before his last number, Mr. Woods, best known to Jazz aficionados as, one of the last surviving Charlie Parker disciples. announcing the present concert would be his last..Ever!

The 83-year-old Mr. Woods, who uses oxygen, jokingly refers to his tank as “my amplifier” later told the packed facility he has emphysema. That being the case, he wanted to go out with a bang.  According to eye witnesses who were on hand to catch his final performance were quoted as saying, “If he was having any trouble breathing it surely didn’t show.”

Phil Woods, a top shelf performer, had a stellar backing unit with him from the Pittsburg area, bassist, Paul Thompson, pianist Alton Merrell, and drummer Tom Wendt.

For full concert review by Pittsburg Post-Gazette click on link below

http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/music-reviews/2015/09/06/Concert-review-Saxophonist-Phil-Woods-ends-playing-career-on-a-high-note/stories/201509070044

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GERALD WILSON ~ WE MISS YOU SIR! SEPT. 4 1918 – SEPT. 8 2014


posted by robert j carmack  #@blues2jazzguy

Gerald Wilson at piano
Gerald Wilson at Piano moving Dots around

Gerald Wilson's Final Central Ave appearance july 2014
Gerald Wilson’s Final Central Ave appearance july 2014 photo by R. J. Carmack

Gerald Wilson Reaching Out Directing
Gerald Wilson soloing with Buddy Collette Vintage 50s

GerALD Wilson and LA big Band Gerald Wilson reaching out pix

Gerald and Josephina with Michael Dolphin 2012 Carl Randall memorial
Gerald and Josephina with Michael Dolphin 2012 Carl Randall memorial photo by R J Carmack

BILLY HIGGINS WORLD STAGE PRESENTS: POCKET JAZZ SERIES AUGUST 22 & 29


posted by #@blues2jazzguy

Coming August 22/29 The World Stage Performance Gallery

Tender Feelins Duke P.

Pocket Jazz Series  Saturday August 22, 7:30pm

The Genius of DUKE PEARSON:Thanks Uncle Duke

Uncle Duke Legacy BandBobby WEST pianist/music director, Reggie Carson bassist,Ishmael Hunter drums,Derf Reklaw Flute/sax/percussion, Pat Sligh , Mechelle LaChaux and Jana Wilson Vocals;  M.C./Poet:Robert J. Carmack

**********************************************************************************

Saturday August 29  7:30pm

NOW’S THE TIME: Spirits of Our Ancestors

art jazz a;;stars
Our great Legendary jazz icons

Featured Artists performing

An evening of music & poetry from our great icons and legends

Ms. Mechelle LaChaux-songs by Nellie Lutcher 1940s Jazz,Jive & Boogie , accompanied by Ms. Anqui Renise piano

Ms. Anqui Renise-Tin Pan Alley Jazz standards

Mr. James Love performing songs by Joe Williams,Lou Rawls    & others- backed by the Hipster Jazz Ensemble

very special invited guest Jazz bassist/guitarist and vocalist

AMIN EL (solo guitar/vocals) tribute to Gil Scott Heron

WORLD STAGE PERFORMANCE GALLERY  

4344 S. Degnan Blvd.  L.A. California 90008

Donations: $15-$20  (sliding scale)

Some tickets are still available for both shows

Ticket/RSVP info 951- 840-7120

BILLY HIGGINS WORLD STAGE LAUNCHES 21 SAXOPHONE SALUTE TO CHARLIE PARKER


posted by #@blues2jazzguy

It was announced recently by Robert J. Carmack of RJC Mediatainment, a Social Media consulting group has partnered with the World Stage,to launch a historic 21 Saxophone Salute to Charlie Parker August 29 3pm PST. The Los Angeles based performance gallery co-founded by jazz drummer, Billy Higgins will act as staging grounds for an assembly of LA’s best JAZZ Saxophonists.The World Stage 4344 Degnan Blvd. LA 90008

http://www.theworldstage.org

Created by Robert J. Carmack,this event is a coordinated effort of multiple cities on the east and west coast coming together to perform “Now’s the Time” by Parker and to photograph the musicians. which will be posted on its own face book page entitled, Now’s The Time- Bird Lives!  “We hope to demonstrate that musicians all over still respect and love Bird’s music.” said Carmack, “We’ve invited the best of the Jazz saxophonist in Los Angeles. I have also made contacts with a few saxophonist in New York and other east coast cities. But we’re still recruiting Saxophonist regardless of what city they live in.  ALL JAZZ SAXOPHONISTS are WELCOMED, All we ask is use a camera/phone and send us a snippet of the performance, Now’s the Time being played by their group at Noon, August 29th and on the east coast 3PM on west coast.

Musicians interested may email us:blues2jazz2003@yahoo.com

Pulitzer Prize Winning, Jazz Icon, Bop Master & Spiritualist: John Coltrane



John William Coltrane (AKA, “Trane”; September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and later was at the forefront of free jazz. He organized at least fifty recording sessions as a leader during his recording career, and appeared as a sideman on many other albums, notably with trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk. As his career progressed, Coltrane and his music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. His second wife was pianist Alice Coltrane, and their son Ravi Coltrane is also a saxophonist. Coltrane influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant tenor saxophonists in jazz history. He received many posthumous awards and recognitions, including canonization by the African Orthodox Church as Saint John William Coltrane. In 2007, Coltrane was awarded the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for his “masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz.”Early life and career (1926–1954)John Coltrane was born in Hamlet, North Carolina on September 23, 1926, and grew up in High Point, NC, attending William Penn High School (now Penn-Griffin School for the Arts). Beginning in December 1938 Coltrane’s aunt, grandparents, and father all died within a few months of each other, leaving John to be raised by his mother and a close cousin. In June 1943 he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Navy in 1945, and played in the Navy jazz band once he was stationed in Hawaii. Coltrane returned to civilian life in 1946 and began jazz theory studies with Philadelphia guitarist and composer Dennis Sandole. Coltrane continued under Sandole’s tutelage until the early 1950s. Originally an altoist, during this time Coltrane also began playing tenor saxophone with the Eddie Vinson Band. Coltrane later referred to this point in his life as a time when “a wider area of listening opened up for me. There were many things that people like Hawk, and Ben, and Tab Smith were doing in the ’40s that I didn’t understand, but that I felt emotionally.” An important moment in the progression of Coltrane’s musical development occurred on June 5, 1945, when he saw Charlie Parker perform for the first time. In a DownBeat article in 1960 he recalled: “the first time I heard Bird play, it hit me right between the eyes.” Parker became an early idol, and they played together on occasion in the late 1940s.  Contemporary correspondence shows that Coltrane was already known as “Trane” by this point, and that the music from some 1946 recording sessions had been played for Miles Davis—possibly impressing the latter.
There are recordings of Coltrane from as early as 1945. He was a member of groups led by Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic and Johnny Hodges in the early- to mid-1950s.
Miles and Monk period (1955–1957)The rivalry, tension, and mutual respect between Coltrane and bandleader Miles Davis was formative for both of their careers. Coltrane was freelancing in Philadelphia in the summer of 1955 while studying with guitarist Dennis Sandole when he received a call from trumpeter Miles Davis. Davis, whose success during the late forties had been followed by several years of decline in activity and reputation, due in part to his struggles with heroin, was again active, and was about to form a quintet. Coltrane was with this edition of the Davis band (known as the “First Great Quintet” – along with Paul Chambers on bass, Philly Joe Jones on drums, and Red Garland on piano – to distinguish it from Davis’s later group with Wayne Shorter) from October 1955 through April 1957 (with a few absences), a period during which Davis released several influential recordings which revealed the first signs of Coltrane’s growing ability. This First Quintet, represented by two marathon recording sessions for Prestige in 1956 that resulted in the albums Cookin’, Relaxin’, Workin’, and Steamin’, disbanded in mid April due partly to Coltrane’s heroin addiction.
During the later part of 1957 Coltrane worked with Thelonious Monk at New York’s Five Spot, a legendary jazz club, and played in Monk’s quartet (July–December 1957), but owing to contractual conflicts took part in only one official studio recording session with this group. A private recording made by Juanita Naima Coltrane of a 1958 reunion of the group was issued by Blue Note Records in 1993 as Live at the Five Spot-Discovery!. More significantly, a high-quality tape of a concert given by this quartet in November 1957 surfaced, and in 2005 Blue Note made it available on CD. Recorded by Voice of America, the performances confirm the group’s reputation, and the resulting album, Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall, is widely acclaimed.
Blue Train, Coltrane’s sole date as leader for Blue Note, featuring trumpeter Lee Morgan, bassist Paul Chambers, and trombonist Curtis Fuller, is often considered his best album from this period. Four of its five tracks are original Coltrane compositions, and the title track, “Moment’s Notice,” and “Lazy Bird”, have become standards. Both tunes employed the first examples of his chord substitution cycles known as Coltrane changes.
Davis and Coltrane again Coltrane rejoined Davis in January 1958. In October of that year, jazz critic Ira Gitler coined the term “sheets of sound” to describe the style Coltrane developed during his stint with Monk and was perfecting in Davis’ group, now a sextet. His playing was compressed, with rapid runs cascading in hundreds of notes per minute. He stayed with Davis until April 1960, working with alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley; pianists Red Garland, Bill Evans, and Wynton Kelly; bassist Paul Chambers; and drummers Philly Joe Jones and Jimmy Cobb. During this time he participated in the Davis sessions Milestones and Kind of Blue, and the live recordings Miles & Monk at Newport and Jazz at the Plaza. At the end of this period Coltrane recorded his first album for Atlantic Records, Giant Steps, made up exclusively of his own compositions. The album’s title track is generally considered to have the most complex and difficult chord progression of any widely-played jazz composition. Giant Steps utilizes Coltrane changes. His development of these altered chord progression cycles led to further experimentation with improvised melody and harmony that he would continue throughout his career.“Giant Steps”
One of Coltrane’s most acclaimed recordings, “Giant Steps” features harmonic structures more complex than were used by most musicians of the time.
First albums as leader
Coltrane formed his first group, a quartet, in 1960 for an appearance at the Jazz Gallery in New York City. After moving through different personnel including Steve Kuhn, Pete La Roca, and Billy Higgins, the lineup stabilized in the fall with pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Steve Davis, and drummer Elvin Jones. Tyner, from Philadelphia, had been a friend of Coltrane’s for some years and the two men long had an understanding that the pianist would join Coltrane when Tyner felt ready for the exposure of regularly working with him. Also recorded in the same sessions were the later released albums Coltrane’s Sound and Coltrane Plays the Blues.
Still with Atlantic Records, for whom he had recorded Giant Steps, his first record with his new group was also his debut playing the soprano saxophone, the hugely successful My Favorite Things. Around the end of his tenure with Davis, Coltrane had begun playing soprano, an unconventional move considering the instrument’s near obsolescence in jazz at the time. His interest in the straight saxophone most likely arose from his admiration for Sidney Bechet and the work of his contemporary, Steve Lacy, even though Miles Davis claimed to have given Coltrane his first soprano saxophone. The new soprano sound was coupled with further exploration. For example, on the Gershwin tune “But Not for Me”, Coltrane employs the kinds of restless harmonic movement (Coltrane changes) used on Giant Steps (movement in major thirds rather than conventional perfect fourths) over the A sections instead of a conventional turnaround progression. Several other tracks recorded in the session utilized this harmonic device, including “26–2,” “Satellite,” “Body and Soul”, and “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes”.
First years with Impulse Records (1960–1962)
In May 1961, Coltrane’s contract with Atlantic was bought out by the newly formed Impulse! Records label.[6] An advantage to Coltrane recording with Impulse! was that it would enable him to work again with engineer Rudy Van Gelder, who had taped both his and Davis’s Prestige sessions, as well as Blue Train. It was at Van Gelder’s new studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey that Coltrane would record most of his records for the label.
By early 1961, bassist Davis had been replaced by Reggie Workman while Eric Dolphy joined the group as a second horn around the same time. The quintet had a celebrated (and extensively recorded) residency in November 1961 at the Village Vanguard, which demonstrated Coltrane’s new direction. It featured the most experimental music he’d played up to this point, influenced by Indian ragas, the recent developments in modal jazz, and the burgeoning free jazz movement. John Gilmore, a longtime saxophonist with musician Sun Ra, was particularly influential; after hearing a Gilmore performance, Coltrane is reported to have said “He’s got it! Gilmore’s got the concept!” The most celebrated of the Vanguard tunes, the 15-minute blues, “Chasin’ the ‘Trane”, was strongly inspired by Gilmore’s music.
During this period, critics were fiercely divided in their estimation of Coltrane, who had radically altered his style. Audiences, too, were perplexed; in France he was famously booed during his final tour with Davis. In 1961, Down Beat magazine indicted Coltrane, along with Eric Dolphy, as players of “Anti-Jazz” in an article that bewildered and upset the musicians. Coltrane admitted some of his early solos were based mostly on technical ideas. Furthermore, Dolphy’s angular, voice-like playing earned him a reputation as a figurehead of the “New Thing” (also known as “Free Jazz” and “Avant-Garde”) movement led by Ornette Coleman, which was also denigrated by some jazz musicians (including Miles Davis) and critics. But as Coltrane’s style further developed, he was determined to make each performance “a whole expression of one’s being”.
Classic Quartet period (1962–1965)
In 1962, Dolphy departed and Jimmy Garrison replaced Workman as bassist. From then on, the “Classic Quartet”, as it came to be known, with Tyner, Garrison, and Jones, produced searching, spiritually driven work. Coltrane was moving toward a more harmonically static style that allowed him to expand his improvisations rhythmically, melodically, and motivically. Harmonically complex music was still present, but on stage Coltrane heavily favored continually reworking his “standards”: “Impressions”, “My Favorite Things”, and “I Want to Talk about You.” The criticism of the quintet with Dolphy may have had an impact on Coltrane. In contrast to the radicalism of Trane’s 1961 recordings at the Village Vanguard, his studio albums in 1962 and 1963 (with the exception of Coltrane, which featured a blistering version of Harold Arlen’s “Out of This World”) were much more conservative and accessible. He recorded an album of ballads and participated in collaborations with Duke Ellington on the album Duke Ellington and John Coltrane and with deep-voiced ballad singer Johnny Hartman on an eponymous co-credited album. The Impulse compilation Coltrane for Lovers is largely drawn from these three albums. The album Ballads is emblematic of Coltrane’s versatility, as the quartet shed new light on old-fashioned standards such as “It’s Easy to Remember”. Despite a more polished approach in the studio, in concert the quartet continued to balance “standard” and its own more exploratory and challenging music, as can be seen on the Impressions album (two extended jams including the title track along with “Dear Old Stockholm”, “After the Rain” and a blues), Coltrane at Newport (where he plays “My Favorite Things”) and Live at Birdland both from 1963. Coltrane later said he enjoyed having a “balanced catalogue.”
The Classic Quartet produced their most famous record, A Love Supreme, in December 1964. It is reported that Coltrane, who struggled with repeated drug addiction, derived inspiration for A Love Supreme through a near overdose in 1957 which galvanized him to spirituality. A culmination of much of Coltrane’s work up to this point, this four-part suite is an ode to his faith in and love for God. These spiritual concerns would characterize much of Coltrane’s composing and playing from this point onwards, as can be seen from album titles such as Ascension, Om and Meditations. The fourth movement of  A Love Supreme, “Psalm”, is, in fact, a musical setting for an original poem to God written by Coltrane, and printed in the album’s liner notes. Coltrane plays almost exactly one note for each syllable of the poem, and bases his phrasing on the words. Despite its challenging musical content, the album was a commercial success by jazz standards, encapsulating both the internal and external energy of the quartet of Coltrane, Tyner, Jones and Garrison. The album was composed at Coltrane’s home in Dix Hills on Long Island. The quartet only played A Love Supreme live once—in July 1965 at a concert in Antibes, France. By then, Coltrane’s music had grown even more adventurous, and the performance provides an interesting contrast to the original.
Avant-Garde Jazz and the Second Quartet (1965–1967)In his late period, Coltrane showed an increasing interest in avant-garde jazz, purveyed by Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra and others. In developing his late style, Coltrane was especially influenced by the dissonance of Ayler’s trio with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Sunny Murray, a rhythm section honed with Cecil Taylor as leader. Coltrane championed many younger free jazz musicians, (notably Archie Shepp), and under his influence Impulse! became a leading free jazz record label.
After A Love Supreme was recorded, Ayler’s apocalyptic style became more prominent in Coltrane’s music. A series of recordings with the Classic Quartet in the first half of 1965 show Coltrane’s playing becoming increasingly abstract, with greater incorporation of devices like multiphonics, utilization of overtones, and playing in the altissimo register, as well as a mutated return to Coltrane’s sheets of sound. In the studio, he all but abandoned his soprano to concentrate on the tenor saxophone. In addition, the quartet responded to the leader by playing with increasing freedom. The group’s evolution can be traced through the recordings The John Coltrane Quartet Plays, Living Space, Transition (both June 1965), New Thing at Newport (July 1965), Sun Ship (August 1965), and First Meditations (September 1965).
In June 1965, he went into Van Gelder’s studio with ten other musicians (including Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, Freddie Hubbard, Marion Brown, and John Tchicai) to record Ascension, a 40-minute long piece that included adventurous solos by the young avant-garde musicians (as well as Coltrane), and was controversial primarily for the collective improvisation sections that separated the solos. After recording with the quartet over the next few months, Coltrane invited Pharoah Sanders to join the band in September 1965.
While Coltrane used over-blowing frequently as an emotional exclamation-point, Sanders would opt to overblow his entire solo, resulting in a constant screaming and screeching in the altissimo range of the instrument. The more Coltrane played with Sanders, the more he gravitated to Sanders’ unique sound.Adding to the quartet.By late 1965, Coltrane was regularly augmenting his group with Sanders and other free jazz musicians. Rashied Ali joined the group as a second drummer. This was the end of the quartet; claiming he was unable to hear himself over the two drummers, Tyner left the band shortly after the recording of Meditations. Jones left in early 1966, dissatisfied by sharing drumming duties with Ali. Both Tyner and Jones subsequently expressed displeasure in interviews, after Coltrane’s death, with the music’s new direction, while incorporating some of the free-jazz form’s intensity into their own solo projects.
There are speculations that in 1965 Coltrane may have begun using LSD-informing the sublime, “cosmic” transcendence of his late period.
After Jones’s and Tyner’s departures, Coltrane led a quintet with Pharoah Sanders on tenor saxophone, his second wife Alice Coltrane on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Rashied Ali on drums. Coltrane and Sanders were described by Nat Hentoff as “speaking in tongues”. When touring, the group was known for playing very lengthy versions of their repertoire, many stretching beyond 30 minutes and sometimes even being an hour long. Concert solos for band members regularly extended beyond fifteen minutes in duration.The group can be heard on several live recordings from 1966, including Live at the Village Vanguard Again! and Live in Japan. In 1967, Coltrane entered the studio several times; though pieces with Sanders have surfaced (the unusual “To Be”, which features both men on flutes), most of the recordings were either with the quartet minus Sanders (Expression and Stellar Regions) or as a duo with Ali. The latter duo produced six performances which appear on the album Interstellar Space.
Death and Funeral
Coltrane died from liver cancer at Huntington Hospital on Long Island on July 17, 1967, at the age of 40. His funeral was held on Friday, July 21 at St. Peters Lutheran Church in New York City. The Albert Ayler Quartet and The Ornette Coleman Quartet respectively opened and closed the service. He is buried at Pinelawn Cemetery in Farmingdale, N.Y.
Biographer Lewis Porter has suggested, somewhat controversially, that the cause of Coltrane’s illness was hepatitis, although he also attributed the disease to Coltrane’s heroin use.  In a 1968 interview, Albert Ayler claimed that Coltrane was consulting a Hindu meditative healer for his illness instead of Western medicine, though Alice Coltrane later denied this.
His death surprised many in the musical community who were not aware of his condition. Miles Davis commented: “Coltrane’s death shocked everyone, took everyone by surprise. I knew he hadn’t looked too good… But I didn’t know he was that sick—or even sick at all.”
The Coltrane family reportedly remain in possession of much more as-yet-unreleased music, mostly mono reference tapes made for the saxophonist and, as with the 1995 release Stellar Regions, master tapes that were checked out of the studio and never returned. The parent company of Impulse!, from 1965 to 1979 known as ABC Records, purged much of its unreleased material in the 1970s. Lewis Porter has stated that Alice Coltrane, who died in 2007, intended to release this music, but over a long period of time; her son Ravi Coltrane, responsible for reviewing the material, is also pursuing his own career.
InstrumentsColtrane 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. Coltrane’s preference for playing melody higher on the range of the tenor saxophone (as compared to Coleman Hawkins or Lester Young) is attributed to his start and training on the alto horn and clarinet; his “sound concept” (manipulated in ones vocal tracts- tongue, throat) of the tenor sax was set higher than the normal range of the instrument.
In the early 1960s, during his engagement with Atlantic Records, he increasingly played soprano saxophone as well, famously on the album My Favorite Things. Toward the end of his career, he experimented with flute in his live performances and studio recordings (Live at the Village Vanguard Again!, Expression). Eric Dolphy’s mother supposedly gave Coltrane his flute and bass clarinet after Dolphy’s death in 1964.
Religious beliefsColtrane was born and raised in a Christian home, and was influenced by religion and spirituality from childhood. His maternal grandfather, the Reverend William Blair, was a preacher at an African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in High Point, North Carolina, and John’s paternal grandfather, Reverend William H. Coltrane, was an A.M.E. Zion minister in Hamlet, North Carolina. John’s parents met through church affiliation, and married in 1925. John was born in 1926. As a youth, John practiced music in the southern African-American church. In A Night in Tunisia: Imaginings of Africa in Jazz, Norman Weinstein notes the parallel between Coltrane’s music and his experience in the southern church.
In 1955, Coltrane married Juanita Naima Grubbs, a Muslim convert, for whom he later wrote the piece “Naima”, and came into contact with Islam.] Coltrane explored Hinduism, the Kabbalah, Jiddu Krishnamurti, African history, and the philosophical teachings of Plato and Aristotle. Coltrane also became interested in Zen Buddhism and, later in his career, visited Buddhist temples during his 1966 tour of Japan.
Since 1948, Coltrane had struggled with heroin addiction as well as alcoholism. In 1957, Coltrane had a religious experience which may have been what finally led him to overcome his addictions to alcohol and heroin. In the liner notes of A Love Supreme (released in 1965) Coltrane states “[d]uring 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.” In his 1965 album Meditations, Coltrane wrote about uplifting people, “…To inspire them to realize more and more of their capacities for living meaningful lives. Because there certainly is meaning to life.”
John and Naima Coltrane had no children together and were separated by the summer of 1963, and not long after that John met pianist Alice McLeod (who soon became Alice Coltrane). John and Alice moved in together and had two sons before he was “officially divorced from Naima in 1966, at which time John and Alice were immediately married.” John Jr. was born in 1964, Ravi was born in 1965, and Oranyan (Oran) was born in 1967. According to Lavezzoli, “Alice brought happiness and stability to John’s life, not only because they had children, but also because they shared many of the same spiritual beliefs, particularly a mutual interest in Indian philosophy. Alice also understood what it was like to be a professional musician”.
Moustafa Bayoumi, an associate professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, argues that Coltrane’s A Love Supreme (recorded in December 1964 and released in 1965) features Coltrane chanting, “Allah Supreme.” However, in Lewis Porter’s book John Coltrane: His Life and Music (2000), on page 242, he describes the lyrics this way: “Coltrane and another voice—probably himself overdubbed—chant the words ‘a love supreme’ in unison with the bass ostinato”. In Peter Lavezzoli’s book The Dawn of Indian Music in the West: Bhairavi (2006), on page 283, he says, “Certainly in his opening solo in “Acknowledgment,” with his constant modulations of the same phrase in different keys, Coltrane assumes the role of the preacher. After stating the theme in every possible key, Coltrane concludes his solo and quietly begins to chant, “A love supreme … a love supreme,” singing the same four notes played by Garrison on the bass. After chanting “A love supreme” sixteen times, Coltrane and the band shift from F minor down to E flat minor, and the chant slowly tapers off.” Whatever the case may be, the liner notes to A Love Supreme appear to mention God in a Universalist sense, and do not advocate one religion over another. Further evidence of this universal view regarding spirituality can be found in the liner notes of Meditations (1965), in which Coltrane declares, “I believe in all religions.”
Lavezzoli points out that “After A Love Supreme, most of Coltrane’s song and album titles had spiritual implications: Ascension, Om, Selflessness, Meditations, “Amen,” “Ascent,” “Attaining,” “Dear Lord,” “Prayer and Meditation Suite,” and the opening movement of Meditations, “The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost,” the most obvious Christian reference in any of Coltrane’s work.”[29] Coltrane’s collection of books included The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, the Bhagavad Gita, Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, which, Lavezzoli points out, “recounts Yogananda’s search for universal truth, a journey that Coltrane had also undertaken. Yogananda believed that both Eastern and Western spiritual paths were efficacious, and wrote of the similarities between Krishna and Christ. This openness to different traditions resonated with Coltrane, who studied the Qur’an, the Bible, Kabbalah, and astrology with equal sincerity.”
In October 1965, Coltrane recorded Om, referring to the sacred syllable in Hinduism, which symbolizes the infinite or the entire Universe. Coltrane described Om as the “first syllable, the primal word, the word of power”. The 29-minute recording contains chants from the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu holy book, as well as Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders chanting from a Buddhist text, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and reciting a passage describing the primal verbalization “om” as a cosmic/spiritual common denominator in all things.
Coltrane’s spiritual journey was interwoven with his investigation into world music. He believed not only in a universal musical structure which transcended ethnic distinctions, but in being able to harness the mystical language of music itself. Coltrane’s study of Indian music led him to believe that certain sounds and scales could “produce specific emotional meanings.” According to Coltrane, the goal of a musician was to understand these forces, control them, and elicit a response from the audience. Coltrane said: “I would like to bring to people something like happiness. I would like to discover a method so that if I want it to rain, it will start right away to rain. If one of my friends is ill, I’d like to play a certain song and he will be cured; when he’d be broke, I’d bring out a different song and immediately he’d receive all the money he needed.”
Legacy
The influence Coltrane has had on music spans many different genres and musicians. Coltrane’s massive influence on jazz, both mainstream and avant-garde, began during his lifetime and continued to grow after his death. He is one of the most dominant influences on post-1960 jazz saxophonists and has inspired an entire generation of jazz musicians. In 1965, he was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. In 1972, A Love Supreme was certified gold by the RIAA for selling over half a million copies in Japan. This album, as well as My Favorite Things, was certified gold in the United States in 2001. In 1982 Coltrane was awarded a posthumous Grammy for “Best Jazz Solo Performance” on the album Bye Bye Blackbird, and in 1997, was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Coltrane was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
His widow, Alice Coltrane, after several decades of seclusion, briefly regained a public profile before her death in 2007. Coltrane’s son, Ravi Coltrane, named after the great Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar, who was greatly admired by Coltrane, has followed in his father’s footsteps and is a prominent contemporary saxophonist.A former home, the John Coltrane House in Philadelphia, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1999. His last home, the John Coltrane Home in the Dix Hills neighborhood of Huntington, New York, where he resided from 1964 until his death in 1967, was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 29, 2007.
His revolutionary use of multi-tonic systems in jazz has become a widespread composition and reharmonization technique known as “Coltrane changes”.
In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed John Coltrane on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
Coltrane’s tenor (Selmer Mark VI, serial number 125571, dated 1965) and soprano (Selmer Mark VI, serial number 99626, dated 1962) saxophones were auctioned on February 20, 2005 to raise money for the John Coltrane Foundation. The soprano raised $70,800 but the tenor remained unsold.
Religious Figure
After Coltrane’s death, congregants at the Yardbird Temple, in San Francisco, began worshipping Coltrane as God incarnate. The Temple was named for Charlie Parker, whom they equated to John the Baptist. The St. John Will-I-Am Coltrane African Orthodox Church, San Francisco, which is fondly known as the “Coltrane church”, is the only African Orthodox Church which incorporates Coltrane’s music and his lyrics as prayers in its liturgy. In order to become affiliated with the AOC, Coltrane was “demoted” from being God to a saint. In 1996, documentary filmmaker Alan Klingenstein made a short (26 minute) film called The Church of Saint Coltrane. Another documentary on Coltrane, featuring the church and presented by Alan Yentob, was produced for the BBC in 2004. Samuel G. Freedman writes in his New York Times article “Sunday Religion Inspired By Saturday Nights”, December 1, 2007,
… the Coltrane church is not a gimmick or a forced alloy of nightclub music and ethereal faith. Its message of deliverance through divine sound is actually quite consistent with Coltrane’s own experience and message.
In the same article, he comments on John Coltrane’s place in the canon of American music. In both implicit and explicit ways, Coltrane also functioned as a religious figure. In 1966, an interviewer in Japan asked Coltrane what he hoped to be in five years, and Coltrane replied, “A saint.”
John Coltrane is depicted as one of the ninety saints in the monumental Dancing Saints icon of St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco. The Dancing Saints icon is a 3,000-square-foot (280 m2) painting rendered in the Byzantine iconographic style that wraps around the entire church rotunda. The icon was executed by iconographer Mark Dukes, an ordained deacon at the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, who has painted other icons of Coltrane for the Coltrane Church. Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church in Newark, New Jersey included Coltrane on their list of historical black saints and made a “case for sainthood” for him in an article on their former website .
Reposted from Hipsters Collector Corner at Facebook groups researched by Charles Thierry – Jazz Fan