This year, 2016, marks the 100th anniversary of the first Great Migration, the movement of millions of African-Americans from the rural south to other parts of the U.S. that promised greater social and economic justice and opportunities. The migration included many excellent jazz musicians, some of whom became household names. For these artists, the Great Migration not only promised greater social and economic opportunity, but also provided inspiration for their creative expression.
Two Englishmen, Guy Wood and Robert Mellin, slipped it into the Great American Songbook just before it closed, just as rock rolled over sophistication. It begins from below, a slowly twisting Roman candle of a tune, and explodes in the top range of the singer, as the eyes of onlookers reflect the glory of what songs once were.
Born in North Carolina in 1926, saxophone player and composer John Coltrane spent over a decade in Philadelphia and then moved to New York. WRTI's Susan Lewis considers the impact of Coltrane, who expanded the boundaries of jazz with a wide range of styles.
1966. Frank Sinatra. The Beatles. The Righteous Brothers. Stevie Wonder. Petula Clark. Bob Dylan. The formation of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Music was coming from all directions....enter John Coltrane.
After an extensive career as a sideman and then 1960's bandleader, Trane's sonic explorations led him to push the envelope of what was popularly called jazz. His multi-dimensional experiments with scales, instrumentation, and format forever extended the boundaries of jazz.
Whenever photographer Chuck Stewart was hired by a record company to document a recording session, he would shoot during the rehearsal takes, playback and downtime. The company would take what it needed, the remainder likely never to be developed, much less published. After decades in the photography business, and thousands of album covers to his name, he's amassed a lot of negatives.
While jazz giant John Coltrane was born and raised in North Carolina, and died in New York, he spent 15 years in Philadelphia. WRTI’s Susan Lewis looks at the role the city played in the career of this master sax player and composer, who would have turned 87 this month.
Listen to Susan's interview with music journalist Tom Moon and historian Rob Armstrong, co-directors of the documentary film Coltrane's Philadelphia.
The film is part the Coltrane Planning Project of The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.
Coltrane’s house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1999. Efforts to preserve the house are ongoing.