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B. Clugston

Lewis Porter on sources of Coltrane's Impressions

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Here's a great article by Lewis Porter on the inspiration(s) behind John Coltrane's "Impressions." Porter touches upon this in his book John Coltrane: His Life and Music (great book by the way, my only criticism is that it's about 1,500 pages too short :)), but this article is much more detailed:

Deep Dive with Lewis Porter: The Inspiration(s) Behind John Coltrane's "Impressions"

 

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Of course I heard Coltrane's Impressions and So What first, but after I had heard Gould's, Lunceford's, and Jamal's recordings, it was all evident, considering the chronology of things. Will dig out the Rocky Boyd tomorrow. Would love to hear that unissued Coltrane recording.

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Much ado....

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The comments talk about how the melody of Trane's "Impressions" did not simply replete the original them up a half-step. Porter in his main article seemed to imply that such was the case, but I know he knows better, and he clarified in his response. Your Real Book version, otoh, does not know better. I once heard that described, none too enthusiastically, as "the Stanley Turrentine version, can you fucking believe it?!?!?!?!?!"

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i'm not following. so the half-step up version is the "correct" one, and the "lamp is low" version is the "turrentine"? is that it? forgive me for being thick...

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A minor comment regarding the Dave Pike version of "Why Not"; on my copy of 'Pike's Peak' it's not credited to LaRoca, but to Pike himself (Regent Music, BMI).

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The melody staying the same in both sections is the Turrentine version, from Sugar. That's what is (or was, for a loooong time, no idea what the current ones have) in The Real Book.

The person making the disparaging comment was a reasonably well-known obscure trumpeter that I had occasion to jam/hang out with one afternoon in NYC. He was on a rant about people no longer learning by ear and that was part of his rant (which also included a "yeah, that's why I'm never going to be this type of player" reality check for me story about how he got a call for a tour with Horace Silver and had to learn the book literally overnight. Not everything Horace ever wrote, just things that were going to be played on the tour. Like, yeah, I don't learn anything that quickly, even sometimes my own writing...so, stay local, right?)

No sense in "name dropping", because it was just one afternoon out of both of our lives, but a lesson learned is a lesson learned.

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2 hours ago, JSngry said:

The melody staying the same in both sections is the Turrentine version, from Sugar. That's what is (or was, for a loooong time, no idea what the current ones have) in The Real Book.

The person making the disparaging comment was a reasonably well-known obscure trumpeter that I had occasion to jam/hang out with one afternoon in NYC. He was on a rant about people no longer learning by ear and that was part of his rant (which also included a "yeah, that's why I'm never going to be this type of player" reality check for me story about how he got a call for a tour with Horace Silver and had to learn the book literally overnight. Not everything Horace ever wrote, just things that were going to be played on the tour. Like, yeah, I don't learn anything that quickly, even sometimes my own writing...so, stay local, right?)

No sense in "name dropping", because it was just one afternoon out of both of our lives, but a lesson learned is a lesson learned.

thanks, i see now. i always thought that the "lamp is low" quote was a part of the tune. after all it's a "pavane" as well (by ravel), so i always thought of it as trane's little inside joke. but i find porter's response in the comments still mildly confusing:

" You might have read in my book that the bridge was possibly taken from "The Lamp is Low." I no longer believe that, because in fact it is false that Coltrane plays the same bridge in every single performance. As I wrote above, "the bridge is basically the A theme played a half-step higher, as Coltrane himself sometimes performed it."

even if it's false that trane did play it *everytime* it's still taken from "the lamp is low"? even if there are unreleased versions of trane playing the "turrentine" version (i haven't heard any) do they outnumber the released versions (which all have "lamp is low" afaik) by such a margin that it can be concluded that the "turrentine" version is actually the correct one, as porter seems to imply? that can't be right. i don't get it.

  

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I've never heard a Coltrane version where the B-section is as literal a transposition as Turrentine made it. Maybe Porter has.

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neither have i. but even if there are those versions, as porter implies, his post in the comment section still makes no sense. he promises another post on the topic. looking forward to that.

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