Never-Before-Heard John Coltrane Recording Discovered at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

John Coltrane
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John Coltrane
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Photo Credit: Herb Snitzer

Unearthed at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Evenings at the Village Gate, showcasing the brief musical partnership between John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy is available to order now on Impulse! Records. 

Recently discovered at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, jazz icon John Coltrane’s Evenings at the Village Gate, a headliner performance at the celebrated venue in the summer of 1961, will be released globally on July 14 on Impulse! Records.

John Coltrane headlined at the Village Gate in the summer of 1961 with a lineup of musicians, including McCoy Tyner, Reggie Workman, Elvin Jones, and Eric Dolphy. Evenings at the Village Gate captures the creative and transformative spirit that sprang from the pairing of Coltrane and Dolphy and the ever-evolving but short-lived quintet.

The recordings on the album — recorded by engineer Rich Alderson as part of a test of the club’s new sound system — were seemingly lost, then found, and then lost again in the vast sound archives of the Library for the Performing Arts. The tapes’ circuitous route over several decades mirrors Coltrane’s musical journey in August 1961.

Recorded during Coltrane’s month-long Village Gate residency with his quintet (often with a revolving cast of musicians), the album contains eighty minutes of never-before-heard recordings. It offers a glimpse into a powerful musical partnership that ended too soon — Dolphy sadly passed away three years later. This recording is the only version of their Village Gate performances ever captured.

In addition to some well-known Coltrane material, there is an incredible feature for Dolphy’s bass clarinet on “When Lights Are Low,” and the only known non-studio recording of Coltrane’s composition of “Africa,” that includes bassist Art Davis.

The first track from the fabled performances, “Impressions,” is now available before the full album release. A special edition orange vinyl variant is also available for pre-order.

Evenings at the Village Gate: John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy Tracklist:

  1. My Favorite Things
  2. When Lights Are Low
  3. Impressions
  4. Greensleeves
  5. Africa