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Lost John Coltrane Album Resurfaces

Impulse! to release March ’63 session as "Both Directions at Once" on June 29

John Coltrane (photo by Esmond Edwards)
John Coltrane (photo by Esmond Edwards)

On March 6, 1963, the day before John Coltrane recorded his classic album of ballads with singer Johnny Hartman, the saxophonist entered Rudy Van Gelder’s recording studio in New Jersey to lay down tracks of a very different sort. He and the rest of his quartet—pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones—cut multiple takes of seven compositions, which presented a far truer picture of the band’s legendary live intensity than the Hartman album. Several of the tunes were unnamed; one was later titled “Impressions,” while two others were never released in any form and, to the best of anyone’s knowledge, never recorded again.

For decades, all seven of these tracks went unheard, until Coltrane’s own copy of the recordings was found recently in the possession of the family of his first wife, Juanita Naima Coltrane. Now Impulse! Records is set to release them on June 29 under the title Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album.

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