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The John Coltrane Memorial: Coltrane

C. Michael Bailey By

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Academic Freedom. The John Coltrane Memorial Concert was inaugurated on July 17, 1977, the 10th anniversary of the saxophonist’s death. It was originally organized by percussionist Syd Smart, bassist Hayes Burnet, and Saxophonist Leonard Brown. The reception of this idea was so great that it developed into an annual event on the Boston music scene. The 14th Annual concert was captured by Greenline Records, a teaching label associated with Northeastern University in Boston. As John Coltrane is among only a handful of innovators in American Music, it is fitting that music in his honor be the vehicle for education in the recording arts and technology.

The Coltrane Canon. The music ranges from the esoteric “Mr. Syms” to the sublime achievements of “Giant Steps: and “Ascension”. The “Blues Medley” will be the most accessible music to the Coltrane novice, brilliantly on the percussive side, accentuating Leonard Brown’s Saxophone. Stan Strickland’s basso throaty vocals on “Kulu Se Mama” make that song Transcendent. Gary Valente’s trombone is full-bodied on “Transition” as well as Diego Urcola’s trumpet on the same piece. All playing involved is top drawer.

The performance has a decidedly Latin flavor as expressed on the opening “Blues Medley” and “After The Rain.” This Latinesque posture is buoyed by the presence of a large and talented percussion contingency. All performances have a determined swing that is not bogged down by an overly-reverent approach. The music here personifies Coltrane in all of his Spiritual and Music Searching. This collection is a totally satisfying listen to Avant-garde music captured with a pristine sound.

Promotional Devotional. The music captured on these two discs is of an exceptional quality. It fairly perfectly captures the Spirit of John Coltrane. It is released on the small Greenline Records Label, a student-run label executed on the campus of Boston’s Northeastern University. This label is a non-profit venture specifically designed to provide students recording industry experience. Greenline currently has one other release in its stables Green St. a bluesey, folk, funkfest by Boston quartet Paint it Blue. Greenline Recordings are available in the Boston area at Newbury Comics, Tower Records, CD Spins, Nuggets, HMV, and Stereo Jacks. The sets may be obtained from the Northeastern University at their website, JCMC.NEU.EDU .

Track Listing (Disc One):Blues Medley: Mr. Syms, Mr. Knight, Take the Coltrane; After the Rain; Giant Steps; I Want to Talk About You. (Total Playing Time 65:00).

Track Listing (Disc Two):Kulu Se Mama; Wise One; Transition; Naima; Ascension. (Total Playing Time 66:00).


Personnel: Kamau Adilifu: Trumpet; Leonard Brown: Tenor and Soprano Saxophones; Carlos Cordova, Sa Davis, Giovanni Hidalgo, Ma

Title: Coltrane | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Greenline Records

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