Both Directions At Once features original, never-before heard compositions, recorded by Coltrane's Classic Quartet in 1963 at Van Gelder Studios. On March 6, 1963, John Coltrane and his Classic Quartet— McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones –recorded an entire studio album at the legendary Van Gelder Studios. The album features unheard originals, and was released to the public 55 years later on 6/29/18. I’ve had the honor to work with John Coltrane’s son, Ravi Coltrane over the years and worked closely to bring this lost album to life along his side.

I’ve professionally involved in jazz for more than 30 years as a producer, record label executive, educator and radio host. I’m currently the VP, Jazz Development at the Verve Label Group and previously worked at Motéma Music and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

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Comments: 43 • Responses: 16  • Date: 

giufei6 karma

Why was it never released until now?

thekendruker12 karma

The master tapes were lost by the record company and Coltrane's own reference tapes were only recently discovered in the home of his first wife, Naima, after her passing.

Mantisbog4 karma

Be honest: Who's better, John Coltrane or Rush?

thekendruker18 karma

As a Canadian, I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it may incriminate me.

EricChrisRoss4 karma

What do you think the odds are that more Coltrane studio albums could be released? I have a Coltrane reference book that documents every studio session he ever did, and he did a lot of studio work, especially in 1966 and 1967, that has never been released. If Coltrane got reference tapes for the Both Directions At Once session, do you think theres a chance that more reference tapes for unreleased material could be easily found?

thekendruker6 karma

It's always possible, I guess, but I don't currently know of any studio dates for Impulse that haven't been released. But that's the same thing I would have said before finding out about this 3/6/1963 session. For a band that had such a strong impact on audiences, there may also be strong recorded live performances that could be of great interest to all of us Coltrane fans.

ericdeckstar1 karma

Wow that sounds really cool what book is that? Is it still in publication?

thekendruker1 karma

The definitive book is "The John Coltrane Reference" by Chris DeVito, Yasuhiro Fujioka, Wolf Schmaler and David Wild, edited by Lewis Porter. An incredible work of scholarship.

jazzmusic13 karma

What's your favorite Coltrane song and why?

thekendruker3 karma

It's very hard to narrow it down from all of Coltrane's recordings but, for today, I'll pick "Slow Blues" from this new album. It captures Coltrane's soulfulness, his musical restlessness and his deep feeling for and understanding of the blues - the foundation of all jazz , if not all American music.

jazzmusic13 karma

What was it like working on this project?

thekendruker7 karma

Extraordinary, from start to finish. Even though I knew that the tapes existed for a few years, hearing them for the first time in December 2017 was revelatory. Since then, working with Ravi Coltrane and seeing the reception of the album over the last few weeks has been incredibly gratifying.

checkerdamic2 karma

As McCoy Tyner is the only member of the quartet still alive did he play any role in the release?

thekendruker6 karma

We played the entire session for Mr. Tyner and his family soon after we received the reference reels. He didn't have any specific recollections of the session or the previously-unknown compositions but he spoke very warmly and emotionally of his time with Coltrane's quartet. It was an incredibly special experience for all off us in the studio that day.

BellamyJHeap1 karma

Did McCoy Tyner assist, comment, add perspective, etc., during the remastering and re-sequencing of the tracks?

thekendruker6 karma

By giving us a sense of what it was like to be in that quartet and by his warm recollections of John Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones, Mr. Tyner definitely added a perspective to our work on this project that we wouldn't have otherwise had.

KrebstarPete1 karma

Did you hear any interesting comments or conversations between the musicians that were recorded on tape between takes?

thekendruker1 karma

Not really. There are only the slate numbers stated by Bob Thiele at the start of the take (most of which appear on the Deluxe Edition) and sometimes you can hear a word or two or a tune being counted off very quietly by Coltrane. There are a few other unidentified voices that make very short appearances.

oms2111 karma

Can you discuss Coltrane's playing on One Up, One Down with his false fingerings? Not only were the notes he chose to play brilliant, but he also wanted to push the sonic boundaries of the instrument. Why is that so important on these recordings?

thekendruker2 karma

Again, it all points toward the future of Coltrane's music and the future of improvised music in general. The extended saxophone techniques that Coltrane employed from this point forward had a huge impact on the sound of jazz and on the way that all musicians, not just saxophonists, approached their instruments.

oms2111 karma

The title of the album, Both Directions at Once, implies Coltrane may have been in-between differing musical styles when this was created. What song or songs on the record do you feel most represent the state Coltrane + the Classic Quartet were in at the time of recording?

thekendruker2 karma

Based only on my intuition, "One Up, One Down" would seem to me to represent what the band most sounded like live at that time. It's pointing toward the future of the group and seems to capture the energy that I would expect of the quartet live. You can listen to "Live at Birdland" from later that year and see if you agree.

12stringPlayer1 karma

It's amazing to me that this was basically unknown until now, especially since this is the classic quartet, and was done at Van Gelder's studio.

What shape were the tapes in when they were discovered? And can you talk a bit about how they were restored/recovered?

The recordings sound wonderful! A testament to Rudy and everyone afterwards who worked on making these heard all these years later.

Thank you!

thekendruker2 karma

The tapes were in phenomenal condition, given that they were 55 years old. After a careful transfer, they required little (but crucial) work by Kevin Reeves to get them ready for release.

saxophone21 karma

how long did it take you to sequence the record once you received final tapes in hand?

thekendruker3 karma

Ravi Coltrane and I both lived with the music for a few weeks and then chose the takes and sequence probably within 4-6 weeks of first having heard it. We were in agreement pretty much right down the line. We discussed flipping "Slow Blues" and "One Up, One Down" at the end of the standard edition but are now both happy that the album ends with "One Up, One Down".

michaeljkauffman1 karma

Kudos on the strong response to the release. Do you anticipate this will be eligible to receive RIAA Gold or Platinum status based on initial sales and streaming response?

thekendruker4 karma

Fingers crossed. That's a lofty goal but we can always hope. FYI, we're maybe 1-2 years away from certifying "A Love Supreme" platinum.

metagloria1 karma

Other than Coltrane, what jazz musician would you like to discover and executive-produce a lost recording of?

thekendruker5 karma

Really hard to say but, given his tragically short life and his overwhelming musicality, I'd love to hear more Clifford Brown studio recordings.

jammi_lee_curtis-3 karma

Do you think his best work occurred when he was on heroin?

thekendruker15 karma

Seeing as how all of his work as a leader was recorded after he'd recovered from his addiction, I think the answer is fairly clearly no.