July 9, 2018. New music from John Coltrane! I bet you thought you’d never hear that again—until this recording from 1963 surfaced. Trane and his classic quartet with pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones were on the cusp of a transformation. In John Coltrane: Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album you can hear it from the first notes.
You might this think this record was “lost” on purpose because it was made in a quick five-hour session before a gig at Birdland. But that’s not the case. These guys were at their peak, and ready. The session at Van Gelder Studios in New Jersey was pushed back an hour so the guys could get to Manhattan on time.
There was a set list—though not all of the tunes had titles yet. Trane had been planning on using his soprano sax quite a bit. Along with some untitled, and never-before-heard treasures, the quartet played some standards, like “Nature Boy,” “Impressions,” and others.
Though not unfamiliar, these sound different. Free jazz was not a known “thing” yet, but the man largely considered the father of its existence was starting to break down walls. The box Coltrane had been dwelling in to make record companies and club owners happy was disintegrating.
The album’s liner notes are priceless. Sonny Rollins writes, “This is like finding a new room in the great pyramid.” Reggie Workman, Ravi Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and others weigh in.
Even if you usually collect music digitally, these notes are worth reading over and over. You may even be able to figure out why you’re hearing this lost recording for the first time.
Tune in to WRTI all week to hear selections from John Coltrane: Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album, along with comments from Ravi Coltrane, the Coltrane family archivist and John’s son.
This week, The Lost Album became Coltrane's highest-grossing record. Read about it here.
Coltrane: Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album was an exclusive Thank-You Gift during our recent Marathon for Music, and it's still available. Give Now to find out how.