New Creed Taylor compilation includes never-before-heard John Coltrane demos


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Like finding a few extra cookies at the bottom of the jar, Impulse Recordings has announced its upcoming four-CD set ‘First Impulse: The Creed Taylor Collection’ will include three previously unreleased demos by John Coltrane.

Recorded in early 1961 for ‘Africa/Brass,’ the large ensemble album that would mark the saxophonist great’s debut for Taylor’s new label, the songs were recorded and conducted by trumpeter and Coltrane friend Cal Massey.


Including the standard ‘Laura’ along with two Massey compositions — eventual ‘Africa/Brass’ track ‘The Damned Don’t Cry’ along with a slower take on ‘Nakatini Serenade’ (previously recorded by Coltrane in 1958) — the demos could offer an interesting glimpse into Coltrane’s process heading into the ‘Africa/Brass’ sessions, which featured arrangements by Eric Dolphy.

In addition to ‘Africa/Brass,’ the set will also include Ray Charles’ ‘Genius + Soul = Jazz’ and two albums by Danish trombonist Kai Winding that were never released in the U.S. Scheduled to come out in April, the set is part of a yearlong celebration of Impulse’s 50th anniversary that is said to also include a series of live events and further releases in conjunction with what would have been Coltrane’s 85th birthday this September.

— Chris Barton