JOHN COLTRANE/COSMIC MUSIC with Alice Coltrane, Impulse Stereo 9148,
Written In Honor of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Early in the Spring of 1967,I was exceptionally fortunate in finding myself seated less than ten feet away from the incomparably great John Coltrane, as the late and much-mourned saxophonist made what must have been one of his last personal appearances (his demise occurred less than four months later). The concert was benefit the Olatunji Culture Center-the African drummer Olatunji was a close friend of John-and was staged at the center, on 125th Street near Lenox Avenue in Harlem.At the time, I was of course disappointed that the magnificent music I herd that Sunday afternoon would never again be available to all of us on record: but inevitably, the memory began to fade and become dim.In point of fact, I had put the event entirely out of my mind, until I received word that a fresh cache of Coltrane material, taped by John himself had been unearthed and scheduled for release by Impulse. According to Bob Thiele.Alice Coltrane discovered various tapes that John had recorded himself.
Impulse will in the future issue all the unreleased tapes by John in her possession-including, one must hope, that of the remarkable concert at the Olatunji Culture Center. In addition, states Thiele, Alice Coltrane will now record for Impulse as an exclusive artist. I will be working very closely with Alice in an effort to satisfy her wishes and the wishes of John Coltrane, and because of a deep desire to help her, it is also Alice's desire to record new, young jazz musicians. This was a strong wish of John, and she will try to do his work
It hardly needs emphasis by me that the discovery of this new vein of Coltrane material comes as a double boon to the ever increasing legion of Coltrane's devoted followers. A double boon because it not only adds to the body of Coltrane's work preserved on record for us, but because it was his partner in marriage and music-Alice Coltrane. Thus it is entirely fitting that the first record be released from Johns own library of tapes should also be the first to offer us a lengthy sample of his bass clarinet playing (Reverend King) and of Alice Coltrane's prodigious abilities as a piano soloist (Lord, Help Me to Be; The Sun),. Other than the music is far more capable than I at speaking in its behalf, there is nothing more that need be added. FRANK KOFSKY, Associate Editor, JAZZ & POP.
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