‘Lost’ John Coltrane album set to be released

A legendary recording session from 1963 will see the light of day for the first time

Impulse! records have announced this morning that they’ve discovered a lost John Coltrane album, which will finally see the light of day at the end of this month – 55 years after it was recorded. The late saxophone legend was with his quartet at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in New Jersey, featuring McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison bass, and Elvin Jones on drums.

The album will consist of 14 previously unheard tracks, including experimentation with two original compositions and jazz standards like ‘Nature Boy’. It was recorded on 6 March 1963, one day before Coltrane’s famed session with Johnny Hartman, at the tail end of a two-week run at Birdland nightclub. The story goes that master-tapes were lost but Coltrane’s family had a ¼-inch reference-tape which is in good enough condition to be released.

Sonny Rollins has already called the discovery: “like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid” while Impulse! have said “This incredible, once-in-a-lifetime discovery reveals a number of creative balances at work, like developing original melodies while rethinking familiar standards. Like trying out some tunes first on tenor saxophone, then on soprano. Using older techniques like the arpeggio runs of his ‘sheets of sound’ while experimenting with false fingerings and other newer sounds. This session was pivotal, though to call it such overlooks the fact Coltrane was ever on pivot, always pushing the pedal down while still calling on older, tested ideas and devices.”

It’s titled ‘Both Directions at Once’ and released on 29 June.

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