Lost John Coltrane Quartet Album surfaces on Impulse!


A previously unreleased session by the classic John Coltrane Quartet, Both Directions At Once – The Lost Album, recorded in March 1963, is to be released by Impulse! records on 29 June with the full co-operation of the Coltrane Estate.The album, featuring Coltrane on tenor and soprano, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones, contains seven tracks including 'Nature Boy', 'Impressions', 'One Up, One Down', 'Vilia', 'Slow Blues' and two untitled originals, both of which are new Coltrane compositions.

The session, was tracked at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey with producer Bob Thiele on 6 March 1963, the day before the John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman album recording sessions took place at the same studio. Coltrane had taken a ¼-inch reference tape home to listen to and subsequently the studio's multi-track master tapes were lost. The recordings were made at a pivotal point for the quartet as they came right off the back of a two-week engagement at New York's Birdland club, where Miles Davis had been in the audience, and were starting to push in new directions. While previously unreleased live concert recordings of Coltrane have been released over the past two decades on a variety of labels, unissued Impulse! label studio sessions are rare and, along with the studio outtakes and Coltrane Mono reference masters that appeared on 2015's A Love Supreme:The Complete Masters, this is the first time in years that an unissued quartet studio session will be released.

Curiously while the record company press release claims this session was unknown about until 2004 and unheard until now, it was in fact previously listed in the sessions referred to in the sleeve note of Impulse!'s 1998 CD box set, The Classic Quartet – Complete Impulse! Studio Recordings, which also featured the track 'Vilia', a Coltrane arrangement of a theme from Franz Lehar's operatta, The Merry Widow. 'Vilia' had originally appeared on an Impulse! Sampler LP in 1965, The Definitive Jazz Scene Volume 3, as well as a bonus cut on the Impulse! CD Live At Birdland reissue from 1995. This new album was given a press launch in early May at the Van Gelder studio with McCoy Tyner and Ravi Coltrane in attendance.

Jon Newey

See the July Issue of Jazzwise for the full story on this album – subscribe now to get your copy