Impulse! Issues Long-Lost Live Recording by John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy

(Photo: Courtesy Impulse!)

Impulse! Records will release Evenings At The Village Gate: John Coltrane With Eric Dolphy — a recording of the two avant-garde icons playing together in 1961 — on July 14. Long known to exist but considered lost, the recording was recently rediscovered at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

The recordings come from a month-long residency Coltrane spent at the titular Greenwich Village club in August 1961 (prior to his more famous residency in November of that year at the Village Vanguard). At that time the tenor saxophonist was leading a quintet with altoist, flutist and bass clarinetist Dolphy as his frontline partner, as well as a rhythm section of pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Elvin Jones.

The new release offers a rare glimpse at the brilliant but short-lived collaboration between Coltrane and Dolphy. Friends since the latter’s days in Los Angeles, they worked together throughout 1961 and briefly in early 1962, most of it undocumented. The set also finds Coltrane’s band in an unusual state of flux, before the saxophonist solidified it into a quartet with bassist Jimmy Garrison joining Tyner and Jones.

Undated, the recordings were made by engineer Rich Alderson to test the Village Gate’s new sound system. Alderson and Workman, the last two surviving participants from the Coltrane residency, contribute essays to the Impulse! package, as do historian Ashley Kahn and saxophonists Branford Marsalis and Lakecia Benjamin.

Evenings At The Village Gate is available on CD, double LP or in digital format. Order it here. DB

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