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coltrane firsthand


John Coltrane Quintet, 'Granada Theatre', Walthamstow, London,U.K.November 17, 1961 (Friday; two concerts, 7:00 p.m. and 9:10 p.m.).

I was there at the Walthamstow concert and HE WAS MONUMENTAL and I have never seen a review of this, but apparently Bob Dawbarn didn't like it.

On recalling it I have no memory of Dizz being on the bill—but I suppose he must have been there—but what was unforgettable was that some 2 dozen people of his entourage emerged on to the stage from the the wings—they knew that something special was taking place. I was spellbound and not a day passes when I don't think of it,I was sat in the front row and bought the first 2 tickets that were sold,and Elvin kept his eyes on my fiancé for the whole time—it was a trait of his-apparently.

Michael Clarke
Torquay, UK
June 2013

From The John Coltrane Reference, p. 235: "The John Coltrane Quintet accompanied the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet on a Jazz at the Philharmonic tour produced by Norman Granz. The Coltrane Quintet received a somewhat baffled and hostile reception in the United Kingdom (with a few notable exceptions), and Coltrane never returned." Bob Dawbarn (mentioned in this report) was a British jazz trombonist turned music journalist who wrote for the London weekly Melody Maker from the mid-1950's through 1970.

Notes and Comments

The John Coltrane Reference, p 235.


John Coltrane Sextet
November 15 - 21, 1965 (Monday through Sunday, one week; opening date not confirmed). Jazz Workshop, Boston, MA.

The one and only time that I saw Coltrane was when he was in Boston from Nov 15-21 1965. The band was the Meditations Sextet. It's very possible that I attended the first night as did Ed Rhodes who is mentioned in your book. But perhaps he was at the second set; we attended the first set. Surely Ed would have remembered Coltrane playing the mouthpiece. As I recall they started playing a tune that I didn't recognize and quickly moved into high intensity. At this time Coltrane took his tenor apart and continued playing just the mouthpiece using his hand to vary the tone. Even though the range was very limited, within moments the whole thing seemed perfectly natural and part of everything else that was happening on the stage. He did this for more than just a few minutes. My guess would be three to five minutes at least. Then Pharaoh picked up and played. Later on Coltrane reassembled the tenor and played for the rest of the set. My friend and I were both struck by not only Coltrane's music but also his presence. To us he appeared as a giant on the stage - and this had nothing to do with his physical frame.

Gerard Wiggins
April 2008

Notes and Comments


Porter, Lewis. John Coltrane. Chronology, p. 374. (Dates have since been corrected; see the Reference).

John Coltrane Reference. Chronology, p. 332-333

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