More than 50 years after John Coltrane’s death, Impulse! Records is releasing new music from the jazz legend.
The record label had long thought the album to be lost after the tapes it was recorded on were destroyed to create additional storage space at the company. However, the family of Coltrane’s first wife Juanita Naima Coltrane recently found a personal recording that Coltrane had given her, and they alerted the record company. The tapes will be released as the album Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album.
The tapes contain extended recordings from one day in March 1963, on which Coltrane played with the members of what would later be dubbed his Classic Quartet. Members included bassist Jimmy Garrison, drummer Elvin Jones and pianist McCoy Tyner, and the Classic Quartet would release 11 studio albums together—one of which was Coltrane’s magnum opus and spiritual ode to God, faith and love A Love Supreme.
In their live performances, the quartet explored Indian influences and avant-garde modal playing, but their studio recordings are more conservative and consumer-friendly. Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album is unique in that it’s a studio recording that more closely reflects the experimental style of their live sets.
All things considered, Coltrane’s career was relatively short. The saxophonist died at 40 in 1967 of liver cancer, though some have speculated that his death could also be attributed to untreated hepatitis after years of heroin abuse. However, Coltrane recorded 41 studio albums over the course of his twenty-year career. That number does not include the work Coltrane did with other musicians of the era, including Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis.
Coltrane played with Davis’ quintet for roughly four years, most notably recording on Davis’ seminal Kind of Blue. Before Coltrane left the quintet to form his own group, Davis purchased Coltrane a soprano saxophone. Though the soprano saxophone was not popularly used in jazz recordings at that time, Coltrane played the instrument on his hugely popular album My Favorite Things in 1960, and later, on Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album.
The standard version of the album will include seven previously unheard tracks, while the deluxe version will contain an additional seven alternative takes. You can preorder the record here.
Both Directions at Once: the Lost Album will be released on June 29. Listen to “Untitled Original 11383” from the new album below, and keep scrolling to hear Coltrane’s take on “My Favorite Things,” plus a John Coltrane Quintet performance of the track at the Newport Jazz Festival circa 1966 from the Paste archives.