No tenor player cast a larger shadow over the 1960’s than John Coltrane. Arguably, that time frame could be expanded to include all decades since, as well. Several contemporary tenor players who emerged as singular and important voices in the 1960s were specifically in his debt: his friend and colleague – Wayne Shorter, his protégé – Archie Shepp, his bandmate – Pharoah Sanders, and his disciple – Charles Lloyd. Each in his own way, reflected Trane’s characteristic tenor sound, his spirituality, his harmonic adventurism and his perpetual searching. Tenor players from The School of Trane in the next hour of Jazz at 100.
1964 was busy year for Wayne Shorter. He recorded his last three LPs with the Jazz Messengers (Free For All, Kyoto, and Indestructible); recorded as a sideman with Lee Morgan, Gil Evans and Crachan Moncur III; and recorded his first three solo LPs for Blue Note (Night Dreamer, Juju and Speak No Evil) – all while transitioning to the Miles Davis Quintet. Juju might have been the greatest John Coltrane record that John Coltrane never made. While Night Dreamer and Speak No Evil were in a quintet format, Juju replicated Coltrane’s signature format, the tenor quartet and used Coltrane’s past and current bandmates – McCoy Tyner on piano, Reggie Workman on bass and Elvin Jones on drums.
“Despite the fact that comparisons to his teacher and mentor Coltrane swirled around him in perpetuity, by the time JuJu was taking shape, Shorter was already establishing his own sound. And though the scarcity of scales he was using leant heavily towards Coltrane’s optative mood patterns, he managed to slip in plenty of the kind of volatile and yet controlled complexity that more daring composers like Monk were plying around the same period. Still, it’s hard not to notice the tonal similarities the tenor sax carries on “House of Jade,” a piece that’s waist-deep in Coltrane’s patented sound of calcified sentimentality.” – butcherboy
House of Jade. Wayne Shorter Quartet
(Wayne Shorter-ts, McCoy Tyner-p, Reggie Workman-b, Elvin Jones-d). From Juju. 8/3/1964
“Four For Trane is one of the classic jazz albums of the ’60s, and a fascinating glimpse into how thoroughly different what was already thought of as the Coltrane revolution might sound. Shepp immediately sounds more deeply soaked in the blues than the man he is paying tribute to here; Shepp’s interpretation of ‘Cousin Mary’ is stunningly good, and his entry on ‘Syeeda’s Song Flute’ is one of those musical moments that stay embedded in the skin like a bee-sting, painful and pleasurable by turns. Without a harmony instrument, the group has a loose, floating quality which Coltrane himself would never have attempted. The sound is totally open and without walls.” – Brian Morton & Richard Cook
Syeeda’s Song Flute. Archie Shepp Sextet
(Alan Shorter-flh, Roswell Rudd-tb, John Tchicai-as, Archie Shepp-ts, Reggie Workman-b, Charles Moffett-d). From Four For Trane. 8/10/1964
Gary Giddins & Scott DeVeaux refer to Archie Shepp’s 1965 Fire Music as “…perhaps his masterpiece … an indispensable album of that period.” “The tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp was John Coltrane’s gift to America’s broader consciousness: Coltrane managed to get him signed to the new independent label Impulse! Where he was the star on the roster… Fire Music is rarely politically explicit, except in the one track on which there are words. Shepp had a resounding baritone speaking voice and excellent diction, a few jazz-poetry matchups have been more effectively executed than the album’s ‘Malcolm, Malcolm, Semper Malcolm!’…Ellington’s ‘Prelude To A Kiss’ begins poetically, with the horns, in their shaky intonation, murmuring a procession of background chords for a half measure each, underneath Shepp’s guttural, slippery tenor saxophone. Shepp is brilliant with limited means, which still means brilliant. Improvising on the melody in little bursts of ideas, he cops Ben Webster’s bedroom subtones, giving the solo that plush feel of the forties…” – Ben Ratliff
Malcolm, Malcolm – Semper Malcolm. Archie Shepp Trio
(Archie Shepp-ts/voc, David Izenzon-b, JC Moses-d). From Fire Music. 3/9/1965
Prelude To A Kiss. Archie Shepp Sextet
(Ted Curson-tp, Joseph Orange-tb, Marion Brown-as, Archie Shepp-ts, Reggie Johnson-b, Joe Chambers-d). From Fire Music. 3/9/1965
“It is perhaps too easy to exaggerate the differences between ‘early’ and ‘later’, the hippy crossover star who mounted the rock zenith and the Coltrane-influenced mystic of the last two decades. In reality, the Lloyd of 1965 was every bit as thoughtful and spiritually inclined as the older man, and even when his music seems most ethereal and otherworldly, Lloyd has never lost a natural melodic gift… – Even without benefit of hindsight, the Lloyd quartet was pretty exceptional. In 1967, [pianist Keith] Jarrett and [drummer Jack] DeJohnette were bursting with promise. The pianist’s work here is as bold and ‘outside’ as it was ever to be again. Lloyd’s tenor sound is rich and accurate, but with a liquid quality that also emerges from his fine flute work. Dream Weaver is marked by some bold writing – ‘Dream Weaver’, ‘Sombrero Sam’ – and fantastic group interplay. ‘Autumn Sequence’, which incorporated ‘Autumn Leaves’, is a wonderfully open-ended suite, with some notably dark and shadowy music even in the blissful sunshine, but it’s ‘Dream Weaver’, another open sequence, that really shows off the group’s brilliant time sense and open harmonics.” – Brian Morton & Richard Cook
Dream Weaver: Meditation / Dervish Dance. Charles Lloyd Quartet
(Charles Lloyd-ts/fl, Keith Jarrett-p, Cecil McBee-b, Jack DeJohnette-d). From Dream Weaver. 3/29/1966
“If the Creator does, indeed, have a master plan, then the role he has written for Pharoah Sanders – the change of name was proposed by Sun Ra, not surprising to hear – is a complex one… [I]n the ’60s, Sanders … [produced] some of the most raucously beautiful saxophone sounds of the decade. Having worked with John Coltrane during the latter’s last years, he had acquired license to stretch harmonics to the utmost, but always, unlike Coltrane, over a hypnotically simple ground… ‘Creator’ opens with a quotation from A Love Supreme, but builds to an intensity that was alien even to Coltrane’s conception. The saxophone part is pretty much front and centre throughout, and though Bob Thiele’s production gives due weight to the other instruments and to Leon Thomas’s full-on vocals there is no mistaking that it’s Pharoah’s gig.” – Brian Morton & Richard Cook
The Creator Has A Master Plan (exerpt). Pharoah Sanders Nonet
(Julius Watkins-frh, James Spaulding-fl, Pharoah Sanders-ts, Lonnie Liston Smith-p, Richard Davis-b, Reggie Workman-b, Billy Hart-d, Nat Bettis-per, Leon Thomas-per/voc). From Karma. 2/14/1969
While John Coltrane died young in 1967, Wayne Shorter, Archie Shepp, Charles Lloyd and Pharoah Sanders are still very active into 2018.
Charles Mingus completed the 1950s with an astonishing series of releases in 1959 – Blues and Roots, followed by Mingus Ah Um and finally, Mingus Dynasty. He kept up this pace for several years culminating in 1963 with his masterwork, Black Saint and The Sinner Woman. We have some live recordings from 1964 and 1965, but otherwise he went silent for the rest of the decade. The 1960s recordings of Charles Mingus with Eric Dolphy and Rahsaan Roland Kirk in the next hour of Jazz at 100.
Wayne Shorter. Juju. Blue Note BLP 4182
Archie Shepp. Four for Trane. Impulse! A 71
Archie Shepp. Fire Music. Impulse! A 86
Charles Lloyd. Dream Weaver. Atlantic LP 1459
Pharoah Sanders. The Creator Has A Master Plan. Impulse! AS 9181
Butcherboy. (2017,July 12). Wayne Shorter, Juju. Retrieved from https://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/74257/Wayne-Shorter-Juju/
Giddins, Gary & DeVeaux, Scott. 2009. JAZZ. New York, NY. WW Norton & Company.
Chapter 15. The Avant-Garde
Morton, Brian & Cook, Richard. 2011. Penguin Jazz Guide, the History of the Music in the 1001 Best Albums. New York, NY. Penguin Books.
Archie Shepp. Four For Trane
Charles Lloyd. Dream Weaver
Pharoah Sanders. The Creator Has A Master Plan
Ratliff, Ben. 2002. The New York Times Essential Library of Jazz. New York. Times Books.
Chapter 73. Archie Shepp, Fire Music (1965)
Annotated playlists and streaming links for all the Jazz at 100 broadcasts: Jazz at 100