John Coltrane on "Dear Old Stockholm"

Another one from the archives: Trane's measured, exceedingly lucid solo on "Dear Old Stockholm" from a studio session in April 1963 that features Roy Haynes filling in for Elvin. Miguel assigned this solo for its rhythmic and harmonic simplicity and motivic logic, a model of tension and release without unnecessary harmonic substitutions and other filigree. The harmonic and melodic material Coltrane works with throughout the improvisation remain relatively limited; it's in the play of small ideas and his rhythmic elaborations that the musical narrative unfolds. 

McCoy lays out for most of Trane's solo here, which brings Roy's mesmerizing comping to the foreground; maybe I'll be able to transcribe some of the snare and bass drum comping one day, but for now I'll leave that to another enterprising student of the music. 


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Francis Davis's liner notes to Newport '63 offer more insight into the relationship between Trane and Haynes:
"Roy Haynes is one of the best drummers I've ever worked with. I always tried to get him when Elvin Jones wasn't able to make it. There's a difference between them. Elvin's feeling was a driving force. Roy's was more of a spreading, a permeating. Well, they both have a way of spreading the rhythm, but they're different. They're both very accomplished. You can feel what they're doing and get with it." — John Coltrane, 1966
Davis chronicles the early personnel auditioning that Trane went through to get to the classic quartet, including considerations previously unbeknownst to me: in August 1960, Trane was considering replacing his bassist, fellow Philadelphian Steve Davis, with the stalwart West Coast walker, Leroy Vinnegar. He'd also asked a friend working at a management company to find out Lee Morgan's weekly salary in the Jazz Messengers. Booker Little was another possibility, although he had to decline due to the health ailments that would shortly claim his life, and Trane ended up also trying out Pete LaRoca and Billy Higgins.
As Coltrane explained the problem to a friend, he and Tyner instinctively phrased on the beat or just ahead of it, whereas Higgins instinctively lagged behind. Despite everyone's best efforts, the combination just wasn't working out.
A lot of fodder here for some fantastical jazz counterfactuals. 

The seeds for Trane and Haynes getting together might have been planted as early as 1949, according to Haynes.
"Coltrane was from Philly, and I used to run into there from the time I was with Charlie Parker — maybe as early as 1949, when I think [Coltrane] was still playing alto. So he was around a lot, but I hadn't played with him too much before I began filling in for Elvin, at least not that I remember... 
...He listened to many different people, including me. In fact, I once had a trio with Eric Dolphy and Reggie Workman, and we used to play at a place in the Village that I don't remember the name of. This was when Coltrane was working the Vanguard. Every night, during our last set, I would see him sitting in the back listening to us. So he was more aware of me, in a sense, than I was of him."
 Just another piece of history.