Tuesday, March 01, 2011

John Coltrane - Sutherland Hotel Lounge, Chicago, IL, March 1- 12 1961

The Sutherland Hotel, on Chicago's South Side, hosted many of the country's top jazz performers in the 1950s and '60s. The shows were put on in the Hotel's first floor lounge. The Lounge, like many of Chicago's jazz establishments, was integrated and drew a mixed-race crowd, though there are oral histories online that note it was a primarily white clientele.

According to the Lewis Porter book, The John Coltrane Reference, Coltrane played a run of shows between March 1 and 12, 1961. At least some of these sets were broadcast on WSBC Radio in Chicago, hosted by Larry Smith. Coltrane's band consisted of:

John Coltrane: soprano and tenor saxohpone; McCoy Tyner: piano; Reggie Workman: bass; Raphael Don Garrett: bass; Elvin Jones: drums.

There have been various recorded versions of these shows floating around over the last decade with some dedicated members of the music trading community doing their best to piece together the best of all known sources. As of 2011, there is a widely-circulated torrent known as "Coltrane Sutherland 1961 Definitive edition Pitch Fixed" available online, with detailed notes as to the source material and edit work performed.

Of the 16 or so tracks available from this run, only a handful are in complete or near-complete state. There are especially hot versions of both "Impressions" and "Greensleeves", each with dynamic McCoy Tyner solos. These are flawed but very, very listenable recordings well worth searching out.