This section provides an introduction to the online John Coltrane Discography, which is based on The Recordings of John Coltrane: A Discography (second edition, by David Wild, Ann Arbor, 1979, (c) 1977, 1978, 1979 by David Wild), with additions and corrections. I've subtitled it, a little grandiosely, The Art of the Discography, because it contains some general information about how my original discography was designed, a design which influenced a number of subsequent discographers. Additional information is contained in the HELP section.
This discography provides information on the recorded legacy of saxophonist John Coltrane, exploring the possibilities of an on-line discography by using some of the elements of the Internet interface. It's a limited work, not only as a work-in-progress (with a little over eight years covered) but also as an intentionally abridged listing of recordings. Those limitations include
In short, this is not a replacement for Fujioka's comprehensive discography, nor is it the "third edition" of my earlier discography. Those visitors who are interested in the full details of Coltrane's recorded career are directed to Fujioka's volume, which is the current standard. (NOTE: Fuji, Chris DeVito, Wolf Schmaler, Lewis Porter and I are at work on Giant Steps: The Ultimate John Coltrane Reference, which will be published Fall 2006 by Routledge--and which is in fact the successor to Fuji's discography, and mine). As a work in progress there will always be errors (typographical and otherwise); I appreciate any information you might want to send (email address)..
I've also included a brief on-line help page with information about using this discography. Some additional points about the discography:
* I have continued to use the Session Number (a six-digit identifier which allows for chronological sequencing of the information) to identify each session. That number will have to be modified if I ever get to the Ornette discography (since the format is not Year 2000 compliant) but it will work fine for Coltrane, whose career unfortunately is limited to a few decades in the middle of the current century. I devised this approach for the Second Edition of the Recordings of John Coltrane: A Discography in 1979, and a number of other discographers have adopted it. In a session number, digits 1-2 are the year, digits 3-4 the month and digits 5-6 the day of the session. Where a day or month is not known zeroes are used. Each track within that session is identified by a letter, so that 650610b is the recently issued version of The Last Blues from a recording session on June 10, 1965. The session is thus uniquely identified, a numerical sequence is by definition also a chronological sequence, and the system allows for additions, corrections and other changes in date without having to renumber every session in the discography.
* I have used the phrase "Impulse unknown" for the tracks I originally listed as "lost". These are usually portions of sessions which are unaccounted for, but since they have been turning up (mostly in the Coltrane family library) "lost" is inaccurate. I have reserved "unissued" for tracks which are available but not yet released (not that there are many of those left...). Much of the newly found material is from monoaural dubs of the master tapes, although the distinction is not currently made in the discography. There's a further discussion of this in the Coltrane FAQS page.
* On the other hand, I have changed Atl unissued to Atlantic lost for most of the tracks so listed in the original discography. This is based on the information (noted in the original discography and confirmed in the Coltrane box set The Heavyweight Champion) that all unissued Atlantic material was destroyed in a fire that burned down the Atlantic tape storage facility in Long Branch NJ in 1976. Unlike the Impulse Coltrane material, it appears highly unlikely that any of that material will turn up elsewhere.
* I am gradually adding some equivalent issues, called Album Attributions back when there was only vinyl to contend with but now called media attributions (i.e. the media, or sound source, which is attributed, or said to contain, this track). If you see the hyperlink symbol More following a media attribution in a listing, you can click on it to jump to a list of other releases for that track. As noted, these are not exhaustive. However I have tried to list some of the more recent CD releases, especially since a number of those postdate Fuji, and since the recent Impulse reissues include additional tracks not on the original releases.
* I've included hyperlinks to locations where the interested user can hear snippets of the music or get information about the current release. This does not represent any affiliation with or endorsement of the company whose page I'm linked to (i.e. GRP Impulse or Rhino)--they just happen to have the music (and can put it on the Web without legal questions). I'm trying to update these, although when Impulse switched to its new Web site most of the sound clips seem to have been deleted.
* I have shown (for the most part) the original issue for the track (either the official release or the first bootleg). Eventually I will put some more information out, but the most up-to-date listing of such things currently is the Fujioka discography, which is in print and available. (Lewis Porter's Coltrane biography contains a wealth of information, but does not include a discography.).
* There are two indices, a chronological listing and a listing of titles. Both indices allow the reader to jump out to the appropriate session. I don't foresee adding anything more, however.
The two currently available works which deal exhaustively with Coltrane's music are the previously mentioned Fujioka discography, which is the current standard Coltrane discography, and Lewis Porter's extensive biography, John Coltrane: His Life and Music. Porter's work does not contain a discography (probably since he was a co-author of the Fujioka discography), but his chronology in that book does contain considerable discographical information.The information in this online abridged discography is drawn from my book The Recordings of John Coltrane: A Discography, first published in 1977 and greatly revised in 1979. I've included information published in the three issues of the short-lived periodical Disc'ribe, published in 1980, 1981 and 1983. (As noted, all of that material was copyrighted at the time, and all the usual copyright protections apply to this online information as well. Specifically, you can access these pages for reference, but downloading, printing, copying, republishing, and similar uses are prohibited). Over the years I've kept track of changes and new releases (such as the Magnetic bootlegs which seem designed to systematically release everything taped in Europe), and those are included. I've also included some updates from the Fujioka discography, from Jan Lohmann's The Sound Of Miles Davis (1992), and to a lesser extent from Porter's biography. I've begun to receive some assistance from others since this discography has gone on line, including Alan Sutherland, who has assisted with CD reissues and other questions.
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