On Thursday I heard the entertaining late set from tenor saxophonist Eric Wyatt at Bird’s Basement (with the bonus of Sydney trumpeter Warwick Alder guesting on two tunes). He pointed out that this Saturday marks John Coltrane’s birth date, for what would have been his 90th birthday, and he intended to celebrate it with a “special tribute show” (With his dynamic pianist, Benito Gonzalez, heavily indebted to McCoy Tyner’s concepts, and Wyatt an authentic “out-of-the-tradition” stylist and “down home” leader, it should be a very worthwhile experience).
Last week we had Coltrane’s surviving son, Ravi Coltrane’s Quartet at Bird’s, after their Australian debut there last March. On this visit this group was far more dynamic, powered by the great drumming of Johnathan Blake. With the interplay between Coltrane and Blake (sometimes as a duo), one could not help but be reminded of the approach and template created by the great partnership between John Coltrane and Elvin Jones.
I was extremely fortunate to hear both McCoy Tyner (1978) and Elvin Jones (1984) still in prime form as bandleaders, and in venues that Coltrane performed in: The Village Gate, and The Village Vanguard. While both groups delivered truly inspiring performances, one realised that this only gave an inkling of what a Coltrane Quartet concert performance was to experience. On his 2005 MIJF visit, Wayne Shorter told a story of most of the Jazz Messengers band going to see the Coltrane Quartet during their set break, and becoming so mesmerised that they did not return in time for their second set. The club owner came down to bring them back, but he too became entranced and forgot about the time!
Realising that this year marked 50 years since his passing (on July 17, 1967), it is revelatory how powerful and relevant his music remains. We are fortunate that the Impulse label provided him so much studio time, and kept all of the unreleased recordings. The official Coltrane website is a great resource to check out (especially the audio of his interviews). Visit it here. Billboard covered the range of events marking Trane’s 90th. here
(*Martin Jackson is editor of the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative’s journal)
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the album “Soul Trane”, undoubtedly one of the finest saxophonists of the John Coltrane school, Jamie Oehlers presents the music of probably the best known saxophonist in jazz music history.
Coltrane’s music ranges from beautiful, haunting ballads and tone poems, to highly energetic and powerful modal improvisations. Expect tunes like Naima, Resolution (from A Love Supreme), Dear Lord and Central Park West.
Performing with Sam Keevers on piano, Chris Hale on bass and Danny Fischer on the drums.
Friday 13th May @ 8:00pm
more details click here
Wandered into the Gold Street Gossip Shop at the unappointed hour, listening to the early birds warbling their way through a toon or three. Settled into a comfortable spot, as near the bar as possible, and as far from the noise as I could decently get, without appearing unduly disinterested. Several of the regulars appeared to be in fine form, and one could go so far as to say that one or two of them were even playing in tune, although I would not hazard a guess as to with what.
In time, I got up to play and a pleasant old mess it was. We trotted out some old toons, some new, and to Colonel T’s disgust, no Coltrane, at least for a while. He worries about that sort of thing, but the truth is, we regularly play Coltrane tunes – he just doesn’t recognise them, and fair enough too.
It must be said that, given there were only 15 or so combatants on the day, this was one of the quietest jams for some time; and the standard of playing did not, mercifully, reach the heights to which the last few jams have left us accustomed.
All of which means two things:
(a) We didn’t scare off any tyro. Indeed one pianist from the Sedergreen stable got up and made a pretty good job of Blue Bossa. Hopefully, inculcated with the S Sedergreen philosophy of “learning on the gig”, he will return.
(b) You can pretty much bet the sheep station on the Jams arcing through another great series of musical adeptness any day now. We are nothing if not consistently inconsistent.
Meanwhile, this Jam left us mystified – played, had fun, never really hit the heights.. the reason?
Not a clue!
The Sunday Jam, every week at the Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Colliwobble, from 4.00pm until we knock off around 7.30.
Humphrey B Bear, Pluto, Kylie Minogue and Mike Hirsh on drums…All names have been changed to protect the innocent…
Andy Sugg’s Coltrane Tribute/Book Launch featuring Sandy Evans (Sydney) & Zac Hurren (Brisbane)
7:30pm – Sunday 20th July – $20/$15
Presented by the MJC (Melbourne Jazz Co-operative) make sure you don’t miss this special Andy Sugg book launch and gig.
Tenor saxophonist Andy Sugg is launching his new book The Influence of John Coltrane’s Music on Improvising Saxophonists, which was recently published in New York. Looking at jazz improvisation through the music of ’Trane, Dave Liebman and Jerry Bergonzi, it has been enthusiastically received in America and Europe (Sugg has already been invited to Paris and to New York to promote the book later this year).
To celebrate, Sugg has reassembled his group TTTenor to play music inspired by Trane, Lieb and Gonz. This time he is joined in the TTTenor frontline by two of Australia’s leading tenor saxophonists, in Sydney’s Sandy Evans and Brisbane’s Zac Hurren, with Joe O’Connor (piano), Djuna Lee (bass) and Chris Broomhead (drums).
Before the concert Sugg will give a free-entry 45-minute presentation on the book, at 7.30 pm, which will feature Evans and Hurren.
Bennetts Lane Jazz Club
25 Bennetts Lane, Melbourne
I have been listening to Sarah Vaughan singing In a Sentimental Mood. Although I am one of these people that think jazz is essentially an instrumental music Sarah is not too bad is she? One thing a singer does is make music more accessible to an audience.
By way of comparison here is Ella Fitzgerald singing In a Sentimental Mood
For Ellington’s definitive version click here where he plays with Coltrane. Yes it is just a pity about that drummer on Ellington’s solos but at least he does not stuff up Coltrane’s.
At a session at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival a few years ago McCoy Tyner told us that Coltrane was trying to make his music more accessible by doing work like My Favourite Things (Rodgers & Hammerstein from The Sound of Music) in 1961. Unlike other free jazz guys of the time he was making jazz accessible. This album was a big hit and also a hit single for Coltrane click here and surely it was much more accessible because everybody knew the lyrics and tune.
If you have made it this far try Michel Petrucciani playing the Ellington accompaniment while soloing with his other hand. click here
By the way did you know that Someone to Watch Over Me, by George & Ira Gershwin from 1926 has the same notes as In a Sentimental Mood try her for Ella Fitzgerald singing it. RM
The Sound, aka Stan Getz, was the man with the distinctive and beautiful tone.
“Let’s face it—we’d all sound like that if we could.” said John Coltrane.
The sound and the playing put him in top of the polls, yet his personal life was turbulent, marred by depression, alcohol and heroin addictions, and violent outbursts. In his book Stan Getz: A Life in Jazz Donald L. Maggin quotes saxophonist Zoot Sims as saying, “Yeah, Stan’s a nice bunch of guys.”
Born on February 2, 1927, and raised in the Bronx, Getz was a handsome, intelligent child who was drawn to music. He began playing harmonica, and in high school he progressed to bass, then bassoon, and demonstrated perfect pitch and a photographic memory. He acquired a beat-up alto saxophone in 1940, played local gigs and saved enough to buy a tenor. In 1943 he quit school and joined the band of trombonist Jack Teagarden which broke up in southern California where Getz settled.
In 1944 he joined the Stan Kenton band and, at eighteen, became its premiere soloist. . . . keep reading
(Michael Brecker 29 March 1949 to 13 January 2007)
You don’t have to have an opinion on the headline. It’s not a competition. But whether Michael Brecker has been the most influential sax player since Coltrane or not, if you have not heard much of him he is definitely worth the time. Chances are you have already heard him anyway perhaps with Dire Straits, Steely Dan or Eric Clapton. . . . keep reading