Tag: Ravi Coltrane

Lost John Coltrane Recording From 1963 Will Be Released at Last

John Coltrane Credit: Chuck Stewart

If you heard the John Coltrane Quartet live in the early-to-mid-1960s, you were at risk of having your entire understanding of performance rewired. This was a ground-shaking band, an almost physical being, bearing a promise that seemed to reach far beyond music.

The quartet’s relationship to the studio, however, was something different. In the years leading up to “A Love Supreme,” his explosive 1965 magnum opus, Coltrane produced eight albums for Impulse! Records featuring the members of his so-called classic quartet — the bassist Jimmy Garrison, the drummer Elvin Jones and the pianist McCoy Tyner — but only two of those, “Coltrane” and “Crescent,” were earnest studio efforts aimed at distilling the band’s live ethic.

But now that story needs a major footnote.

On Friday, Impulse! will announce the June 29 release of “Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album,”full set of material recorded by the quartet on a single day in March 1963, then eventually stashed away and lost. The family of Coltrane’s first wife, Juanita Naima Coltrane, recently discovered his personal copy of the recordings, which she had saved, and brought it to the label’s attention.

There are seven tunes on this collection, a well-hewed mix that clearly suggests Coltrane had his sights on creating a full album that day. From the sound of it, this would have been an important one.

“Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album” is due on Impulse! on June 29. Credit:

“In 1963, all these musicians are reaching some of the heights of their musical powers,” said the saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, John Coltrane’s son, who helped prepare “Both Directions at Once” for release. “On this record, you do get a sense of John with one foot in the past and one foot headed toward his future.”

That’s true — though as Mr. Coltrane was careful to point out, his father always lived in a state of transition. The poet and critic Amiri Baraka wrote in 1963 that Coltrane’s career was one of simultaneous “changes, resolutions and transmutations.” As the public came to depend on the grounding wisdom of his saxophone sound in the late 1950s and ’60s, Coltrane kept shifting and expanding it.

By the time he signed with Impulse! in 1961, he had mostly left behind the swift harmonic movement of his earlier work. He was resolutely exploring other elements: drones influenced by North African and Indian music; unbounded and jagged melodic phrasing. One of Coltrane’s earliest biographers, C.O. Simpkins, de

But Coltrane had a funny problem: He was also quite commercially successful, particularly for an improvising musician of such rigor. He had arrived at Impulse! shortly after scoring a megahit with “My Favorite Things,” and the producer Bob Thiele felt obligated to provide a stream of concept-driven and consumer-friendly projects. The other albums he made in 1963 with Coltrane were “Ballads,” “Duke Ellington and John Coltrane” and “John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.”

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Already a Hub for the Arts, New Brunswick, NJ Enters Its Jazz Age

Thursday nights at Hotoke are a part of a resurgence of the New Brunswick jazz scene. Instrumentalists performing there have included the drummer Rudy Royston and his quartet. (BEN SOLOMON FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)

This month’s cold snap did not deter the drummer Rudy Royston, a fixture on the New York jazz scene, from making his way to New Brunswick, where on a particularly frigid Thursday night, he could be found burning up the bandstand at Hotoke, a restaurant and lounge on George Street.

Mr. Royston had a hole in his schedule to fill, and fill it he did, his drumming a polyrhythmic whirlwind propelling a quartet through war horses like “On Green Dolphin Street” and “Autumn Leaves.” Mr. Royston said he relished getting back to basics out of the glare of Manhattan.

“These gigs are foundation gigs,” he said, before launching into his set. “We play tunes, play the room, deal with management. They are at the root of jazz.”

But the larger significance of the set was that it was happening at all. The George Street of old, hollowed out by postwar suburbanization, was a dark and lonely place after 5 p.m., save for the odd prostitute prowling the stretch leading to Albany Street. The mere existence of a jazz room was something of a miracle.

Historically, New Brunswick’s native sons have contributed to jazz, from the stride pianist James P. Johnson, a Jazz Age innovator, to the avant-garde bassist Mark Helias, who came out of Rutgers University’s groundbreaking jazz studies program in the 1970s.

But jazz as a commercial enterprise didn’t gain a toehold in New Brunswick until Johnson & Johnson built its new headquarters there. Opening in 1983, it spawned redevelopment, like the Hyatt lounge and other cultural hot spots catering to a new, wealthier crowd.

By the 1990s, those spots included theaters, like the George Street Playhouse and Crossroads Theater Company, and music spaces, like the Raritan River Club on Church Street, where the influential pianist Kenny Barron, then a Rutgers professor, offered full sets of solo playing rarely heard when he performed in Manhattan clubs. Another establishment with new owners, Steakhouse 85, now operates at the River Club’s former address.

Despite the general improvement in New Brunswick’s fortunes, the city’s night life suffered during the 2008 recession, according to Virginia DeBerry, a writer and local jazz enthusiast.

“Everybody’s pocket was strained,” she said. “Jazz just wasn’t happening in town.”

But the downturn had an upside. It spurred Ms. DeBerry, along with fellow enthusiasts Michael Tublin, a New Brunswick city employee, and Jim Lenihan, an engineer, to form the New Brunswick Jazz Project. In the spring of 2010, the three started knocking on doors, brokering deals with local businesses interested in hosting jazz. This year, the project, which once booked two shows a month, will book three or four a week.

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Playboy Jazz Festival to Celebrate George Duke; Entire Lineup Announced

george duke

Singer Al Jarreau and bassist Stanley Clarke will celebrate the legacy of their friend and musical partner George Duke on the opening day of the 36th annual Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, which is presenting the festival for the first time, announced the lineup for the June 14-15 event on Monday, reports the APGeorge Benson and fellow smooth jazz guitarist Earl Klugh will headline the closing concert.

Saturday’s concert will pay tribute to Duke, the keyboardist, singer, composer and producer who headlined last year’s Playboy opener and was a frequent participant in the Los Angeles area’s biggest jazz event. Duke, 67, died of leukemia last August shortly after releasing his chart-topping contemporary jazz CD “Dreamweaver,” which included a straight-ahead acoustic jazz track featuring Clarke.

Jarreau first performed with Duke in the house band at San Francisco’s Half Note Club in the late ’60s and the keyboardist was featured on the singer’s 1981 album “Breakin’ Away.” Clarke and Duke recorded three groove-oriented albums together, including 1981′s “Clarke/Duke Project” with the R&B hit single “Sweet Baby.”

Comedian George Lopez said he’s “thrilled” to be hosting the Playboy festival again after taking over from long-time emcee Bill Cosby last year.  “This year’s lineup of talent is unparalleled, and it’s going to be a great weekend of music,” Lopez said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.  Saturday’s lineup includes singer Dianne Reeves, who featured her cousin Duke on several of her albums; pianist Kenny Barron’s trio with guest saxophonist Ravi Coltrane; trumpeter Arturo Sandoval’s big band and British singer-pianist Jamie Cullum.

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Making A Home For John Coltrane’s Legacy : NPR

In 1964, John Coltrane moved from Queens, N.Y., to a brick ranch house on a 31/2 acre wooded lot in the quiet suburb of Dix Hills. This bucolic setting — 40 miles east of the city — is perhaps the last place you’d expect to find a musician creating the virtuosic jazz that Coltrane is famous for.   “I believe the solitude and the beauty of Long Island gave him something he had not had or experienced before,” he says. “Clearly it affected the way he conceived.”

But Ravi Coltrane, the son of John and Alice Coltrane, who was herself a noted jazz pianist and harpist, says the woods were part of his father’s creative process.

Ravi Coltrane was born in 1965 and lived in the Dix Hills house until he was six.

“This is my sister’s room over here. Michelle — this is her bedroom,” he says. “This was the boys’ room back here; this is the room I shared with my two brothers, John Jr. and Oran.”‘

But, Ravi Coltrane says, not all is as it was: The Coltrane Home in Dix Hills has fallen into disrepair in the 45 years after his father’s death.

Preserving The Property

Many, including Ravi Coltrane, are trying to preserve the historic property. The driving force behind the effort is Steve Fulgoni, a music store owner, amateur saxophonist and a huge Coltrane fan. He first visited the house in 2004.

“I was looking around, and I looked in the corner, which I think was in this room, and all there was was one newspaper,” Fulgoni says. “I picked up the newspaper, and I looked at the date, and the date of the newspaper was July 17, which was the anniversary of his death. And I said to myself, ‘I need to do something.'”

That same year, he founded The Friends of the Coltrane Home. Fulgoni petitioned the town of Huntington, N.Y., to declare the site a historic landmark, and two years later, to purchase the property and designate it a public park.

To read the rest of this article or listen to the story, click here: Making A Home For John Coltrane’s Legacy : NPR.

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