Groovy Groovy; Jazzy Jazzy

By Freddie Zamora

The John Coltrane Memorial Concert took place on Saturday, Sept. 21, marking the event’s 25th year in Blackman Auditorium on Northeastern’s campus. The concert featured a number of musicians paying tribute to the late jazz icon through performances of some of his most famous songs.

John Coltrane inspired the sounds of contemporary jazz and left an indelible impression on jazz musicians who have followed in his footsteps. His illustrious music career ranged from 1955 to 1967. He played with Miles Davis’ band from 1955 to 1957, and the music they produced is some of the most influential in the genre. He eventually left Davis’ band and formed his own quartet in 1960. The albums they released were “Crescent,” “A Love Supreme,” a ballads album, and a joint session album with jazz visionary; Duke Ellington. With musical successes under their belt, Coltrane’s quartet disbanded in 1966.

The concert started off with a quick number, “Namina,” featuring the angelic voice of Semenya McCord, and quickly changed pace with the melancholic “Reverend King.” The performance reached a musical catharsis with the loud clings from the percussionist, and McCord’s voice added some somberness to the musical mayhem by softly repeating “Heaven!”

The night’s most memorable performer was a man by the name of Brother Blue. He first appeared in the third song of the night, “God’s Own Blues,” which illustrates a conversation he has with God. Brother Blue added some improvisational theatrics by acting out what the lyrics described. He also appeared in “Butterflies,” continuing to convey the power of his words through his movements on stage.

One noteworthy moment was the appearance of Cousin Mary, for which Coltrane once wrote a musical piece. She received a warm welcome from the crowd as she delighted those in attendence with her vocal stylings.

Armsted Christian chimed in on the performance of “Cousin Mary.” His voice was reminiscent of a young Frank Sinatra as he serenaded the audience with his soothing voice. He also sang on another song, “My One And Only Love.” The rest of the performances were comprised of instrumental pieces, featuring thunderous bangs on the percussion, somber tones by the saxophone, and rough and tumble sounds made emmanating from the trombones.

The age of those in the audience spanned the spectrum, proving the timeless effect Coltran’s music carries. It was pleasant to see such a vast group of people coming together to witness the music of John Coltrane. A night of music, coming from musicians paying tribute to a legend never ends with disappointment, and judging by the reaction of the audience, a great time was had by all.

Leave a Reply