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Columbia U Broadcasts Trane Fest

Back in the day, when John Coltrane and his tenor were turning heads and breaking down walls in music, the jazz pundits used to say that the only thing in New York City that could stop the Trane was the Columbia University football team. Actually, no one ever said that—the Columbia Lions have never been an intimidating force on the gridiron. On the radio, however, the Lions are the only thing that can stop the saxophonist, or at least the only stopping Columbia’s WKCR-FM from broadcasting a continuous 12 days of Trane from September 14-26.

During those 12 days the station’s jazz department will hold its John Coltrane Festival, pre-empting all regular programming to bring listeners Coltrane’s entire recorded legacy, some 200 hours of music. While we don’t expect a large amount of bootleg Trane material will be played, we have been told that rare, archival footage will get on the air. The festival will also feature presentations on important phases of Coltrane’s career, examinations of his recorded masterworks

and interviews with his remaining musical collaborators. The only break from the Trane-a-thon will be on September 21, when the Columbia’s football team takes the field for its season opener. Go Lions.

WKCR jazz department heads Kimberly Seibel and Paul Burkey have promised to “lead you through the full scope of Trane’s legacy,” covering his early work with Dizzy Gillespie and Johnny Hodges, his days as a sideman with Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, the work of his legendary ’60s quartet and his final explorations into the jazz avant-garde.

Coltrane’s evolution will be charted chronologically during this radio fest and it all begins September 14 at 2 p.m. Dial in 89.9 FM on your hi-fi if you’re local to New York City, otherwise head over to and listen via Internet stream.

Originally Published