Coltrane and Gould
The company, Mosaic Records, is known to produce reissued box sets that are amazing under the watch of Michael “spelunker” Cuscuna, a jazz curator, who loves to find buried treasures from deep within the vaults of jazz companies in order to share them with jazz fans around the world. Because of a lovely tip that was posted on Mosaic’s blog, I was able to learn about the beginnings of a seminal recording by John Coltrane, an album that got me started with my journey (maybe the word obsession here fits better) into jazz when I was still in high school.
I had always consider Morton Gould to be a conductor and composer of classics that were light for popular audiences. Come to find out, he also worked on national radio broadcasts as a conductor in the forties and fifties, making him well known to listeners in America. I was clueless about this, having no idea that any of his work was loved by a musical explorer and iconic jazz musician.
In the early 1940’s, Gould wrote American Symphonette, a piece that included a passage that jazz musicians loved called “Pavanne.” Jimmy Lunceford, Glenn Miller, and several others were part of the recording. After Coltrane heard it, he decided to use it’s theme to his Impressions recording in 1961 as a springboard. This became part of his repertoire that was standard with his gigs up until the time of his death in July 1967.
A Rutgers University musicologist name Dr. Lewis Porter wrote a biography of John Coltrane that was quite definitive. In this biography, he tells readers of the inspiration that Coltrane used in his recordings through his two part blog post. He also shines a light on how many other orchestras and jazz musicians loved the Gould “Pavanna.” I was quite facinated by listening to the clips from Dr. Porter. I never knew before about the connection that Morton Gould and Coltrane had. Of course, it is never too late to learn something new.
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