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Friends of John Coltrane Memorial Concert to Feature Pharoah Sanders

Celebration of legendary saxophonist, now in its 40th year, to be held October 1-7 in Boston

Saxophonist Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah Sanders (photo by Jati Lindsay)

The John Coltrane Memorial Concert (JCMC) calls itself “the world’s oldest annual performance tribute to the musical and spiritual legacy of the great master.” The event, co-founded and organized by musician and educator Leonard Brown, will take place over seven days in October at various venues around the Boston area. The event culminates with a performance by saxophonist and former Coltrane bandmate Pharoah Sanders on Saturday, October 7 at the Blackman Auditorium at Northeastern University. Accompanying Sanders are his long-time pianist William Henderson, as well as Nat Reeves on bass and Johnathan Blake on drums.

That concert is preceded the night before on October 6 by a performance featuring the 20-piece JCMC Ensemble, directed by Carl Atkins. Joining Atkins on reeds and woodwinds will be Leonard Brown, Stan Strickland, Bill Thompson and Robert Tynes. In the trumpet section are Robert Gallegos, Charles Lewis, Doug Olsen and Mike Peipman. Jeff Galindo, Bill Lowe, Rick Stepton and Gary Valente will be featured on trombone and tuba, along with Yoron Israel and Ron Savage on drums. Rollins Ross, George W. Russell, Jr. and Frank Wilkins are the keyboardists, and John Lockwood and Ron Mahdi are the bassists. Radio host José Massó serves as the host for the performance which will also be in the Blackman Auditorium.

The event kicks off on Sunday, October 1 with a screening of the highly acclaimed 2016 documentary Chasing Trane, directed by John Scheinfeld and narrated by Denzel Washington. A panel discussion with Tia Fuller, Eric Jackson, Emmett G. Price III, and JCMC co-founder Syd Smart will follow.

Running September 7 through October 7 will be a photographic exhibit documenting the annual JCMC concert, called “40 Years of Celebrating ‘Trane,” curated by Edmund Barry Gaither and featuring photos by Craig Bailey, Bruce Hamilton, Hakim Raquib and Erin X. Smithers. That exhibit will take place at the Haley House Bakery Café in Roxbury.

Learn more about the entire event here.

Read an interview with John Scheinfeld, the director of the documentary Chasing Trane here.



Originally Published