My dad has always been a big jazz fan. I remember being young and flipping though his countless jazz albums. I also remember asking him pointblank, “What’s up with all of the John Coltrane?” It seemed as if every other album was a Coltrane album. He explained to me that Coltrane not only played the lead as “Trane” on his own albums, he also played with the rest of the jazz greats at the time, doing his part to shape the sounds of jazz throughout his prolific career.
You don’t have to know much about jazz to know the name “John Coltrane”. It just so happens that “Trane” passed away the same year that I was born. At the time of his death, the jazz saxophonist was ten years younger than I am today, which puts his epic career into even more of an awesome perspective when I stop to think about it. The man was a workhorse. He was a musical genius, and his works still resonate with jazz fans 50 years after he took his final bow.
Starting September 21, a three-day jazz festival celebrating the birthday of John Coltrane will be held at the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
The Burchfield Penney at SUNY Buffalo State in collaboration with the Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Society (PMLJS) will present a three-day festival September 21 – 23, 2017 of special performances, screenings and conversations at The Center in celebration of John Coltrane’s 91st birthday.
The line-up includes:
Thursday, September 21 – 7 PM
LECTURE / DISCUSSION | CHUCK MANCUSO REMEMBERS THE ROYAL ARMS NIGHT CLUB
The legendary Royal Arms Night Club located on W. Utica Street hosted live jazz acts seven nights a week. John Coltrane appeared once at the club in the early 1960s. Chuck Mancuso, SUNY Buffalo State American Popular Music professor and jazz aficionado, will present a talk on the iconic night club. Event is free with gallery admission.
Friday, September 22, 2017 – 8 pm
PERFORMANCE | TENOR SAXOPHONIST J.D. ALLEN AND THE GEORGE CALDWELL QUARTET PERFORM JOHN COLTRANE JAZZ CLASSICS
Hailed by the New York Times as “a tenor saxophonist with an enigmatic, elegant and hard-driving style,” JD Allen is a bright rising light on today’s international jazz scene. Admission: $20, advanced tickets available by call (716) 878-6011.
Saturday, September 23, 2017
1 pm – PERFORMANCE | THE PROGESSIONS QUINTET
Experience some of some of Western New York’s finest emerging jazz talent, including a former student of the Love Supreme School. Event is free with gallery admission.
2 pm – SCREENING | CHASING TRANE: THE JOHN COLTRANE DOCUMENTARY
CHASING TRANE is the definitive documentary film about an outside-the-box thinker with extraordinary talent whose boundary-shattering music continues to impact and influence people around the world. Event is free with gallery admission.
4 PM – LECTURE / DISCUSSION | A CONVERSATION WITH JIMMY HEATH: SIRIUSXM REAL JAZZ RADIO HOST EULIS CATHEY INTERVIEWS INSTRUMENTALIST, COMPOSER AND ARRANGER
Eulis Cathey interviews Jimmy Heath who will share his exclusive memories performing with John Coltrane. Heath, also 91-years-old, appears throughout the Chasing Trane documentary. Event is free with gallery admission.
8 PM – PERFORMANCE | BASSIST CURTIS LUNDY PERFORMS SELECTIONS FROM BAGS AND TRANE
Accompanied by Craig Handy (saxophonist), George Caldwell (piano), Eric Kennedy (drums) and Joe Doubleday (vibraphone) Jazz Times calls Lundy “one of the most spiritually uplifting bassists on the jazz scene today.” Arguably one of the most prolific in-demand bassists on the modern jazz scene. He is a disciple of the mainstream straight ahead hard bop school. Admission: $20, advanced tickets available by call (716) 878-6011.