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Did anyone here see Trane live? If so, what was it like?
 

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One time in the late 60's I literally rubbed shoulders with Coltrane while he was leaving Ludwigs (very narrow) repair shop in San Francisco..I think he was playing the Jazz Workshop on Broadway. I did not recognize him and found out who he was only after he'd left the shop.

I recall that I was surprised at his height, I had always thought of him as a tall man. I noticed he was about my height around 5'10" maybe a bit shorter..to be honest as he brushed past I mostly noticed his brown leather fitted horn case. Looked like a reunion blues.

Anyway as I reached the counter Lud says to me "Hey Tiger, you know who that was ??…

Well I do now.
 

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I did see him once. Must've been the summer of '66. Fillmore East. He played with the expanded quartet, adding Pharoah Sanders. I'm pretty sure that Rashied Ali was on drums as well as Elvin but I might be mistaken. It was a benefit for SNCC and Stokely Carmichael spoke. Jackie McLean played and there may have been another group or two as well. The atmosphere in the place was electric. Coltrane was into the "drone" sound then. It wasn't the kind of concert where you emerged whistling "Syeeda's Song Flute".
 

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I saw him a few times. The first was at Birdland, around the time he made the first Live at Birdland album, with Afro Blue and the Promise, and I Want to Talk About You, etc. It was actually, for me, life changing.
 

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I saw him a few times. The first was at Birdland, around the time he made the first Live at Birdland album, with Afro Blue and the Promise, and I Want to Talk About You, etc. It was actually, for me, life changing.
So describe the scene for us...….
 

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I saw Trane at the Jazz Workshop in SF in '67 or '68. The experience was a little odd. I had been a student at U of Florida and listened to Blue Train religiously. When I transferred to Berkeley I discovered that the student union cafe, the Bear's Lair, had a 45 version of Blue Train on the jukebox. At Gainesville in Fl I'd played frequently at a Thursday nite gig at Sara's BBQ joint in the black part of town, a jam session open to all, and the place was usually packed, people drinking beer and having a good time. There were a few really good players, one that I recall was Sims, who appeared occasionally, and played 'High Heeled Sneakers' and just tore the place up. People would shout encouragement, things like 'Play on, brother, play on'. This was not unusual, the crowd was always lively and into the music. The BBQ owner's son played a Hammond organ, and Cool Papa played the drums. There were not many white faces in the club. One nite a buddy was with me and after the gig we were talking to some of the fellows outside the club, I remember that one guy was talking funny, a sort of black slang that I couldn't understand, but anyhow they invited us to follow them out to a club in the woods, so we followed them out of town on a blacktop road, me with my horn on the back of my buddy's motorcycle, and we turned off the road and went into the woods on a dirt road with nothing but trees on each side, and when we got there is was just like the scene in 'A Color Purple', a juke joint in the middle of the woods. I think they went on all nite. Back to Berkeley - one really odd thing about the night is that I rode my Vespa scooter over the Bay Bridge to go to the gig. I now cannot imagine how I did anything that completely stupid. At the gig the Jazz Workshop is very small place, and I entered and sat at the bar which was near the entrance. Further in, I mean like 15 feet, there were tables, maybe 15 tables and then the band playing towards the front of the club and the bar. Trane was playing in his later style and I think there was another horn player in the band. The crowd was genteel and sipping their cocktails. Mostly white. Anyhow, as Trane was playing a solo, I, thinking I would contribute to the vibe, shouted out... 'Play on, play on' ... and a few of the people at the bar turned to look at me as if they were affronted, and I realized that my behavior was out of place. I didn't really get into music at the club, and I really never did get into Trane's later stage music, and felt like a bit of an idiot, but at the same time I sensed that the atmosphere of the club was somehow not right for the music that was being played and that the scene at Sara's was much more conducive to jazz. I experienced a sort of cognitive dissonance, the music seem disconnected from the environment. So, it was an experience I won't forget, but not particularly memorable. And I probably froze my *** off on the ride back across the Bay Bridge.
 

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I never got to hear Coltrane live but I had an older friend who’d seen him a few times. He told me that after listening to one of Coltranes solos that was so long and intense he had to walk outside to catch his breath.
My friend played sax and said Coltrane’s sound was almost like a classical sound and really not that loud. Since my friend was more a Gene Ammons type player he described it that way.
 

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... I sensed that the atmosphere of the club was somehow not right for the music that was being played and that the scene at Sara's was much more conducive to jazz.
Too bad Trane didn't live long enough to play at Keystone Korner, and yeah the audience there would shout out encouragement. That club had a great atmosphere for jazz (as did the Both And Club). I was just a bit too young to see Trane; he died a couple of years before I had the opportunity to hear live jazz. But I was lucky enough to see all the great players that were still alive in the early '70s. I'd give anything to go back in time and hear Coltrane or Bird in live performance (especially Bird!!).

I used to drive across the Bay Bridge in a rickety old VW Bug. That was scary enough, especially in a Winter storm. But man, I can't imagine doing that on a Vespa scooter.
 

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I never saw Coltrane, but I did sound for a concert at a university when Ravi Coltrane was touring with Joanne Brackeen. He was a pleasant fellow.
 

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And that was before I did any drugs.
I'll steer clear of this issue. Except to say it's a wonder some of us survived our youthful indiscretions. I'm just glad I came of age well before the YouTube/Facebook/social media era. And during a time when you could see so many of the jazz greats in small clubs for just a few bucks admission & relatively cheap drinks!
 
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