You had to be there the '60's night John Coltrane appeared at the Royal Arms Jazz Club on West Utica to understand.
You knew, long before the night was over, that you would never forget it. And most of us never have. Through the booking advice of the legendary Buffalo jazz disc jockey Joe Rico, The Royal Arms had itself become legendary. Because the art of sound mix hadn't been perfected, Coltrane and his band were often drowned out by his magnificent drummer Elvin Jones but Coltrane's subsequent music indicated how much he loved playing with drum thunder.
That event, among many, will be discussed at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Burchfield Penney Art Center of SUNY Buffalo State College by Chuck Mancuso, the college's jazz and pop music guru. The event is free and leads off a three-day celebration of Coltrane during a commemoration of what would have been his 91st birthday. Brought to Buffalo by the event will be Coltrane's venerable friend, tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath, as well as tenor players J.D. Allen and Craig Handy along with bassist Curtis Lundy.
At 8 p.m. Friday, Allen will join George Caldwell in a quartet playing Coltrane's music in tribute in the Burchfield. Admission is $20.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, the local Progressive Quintet will play a free concert of Coltrane repertoire at the Burchfield. At 2 p.m. the gallery will show the terrific documentary film "Chasing Trane." At 4 p.m. is when the great tenor saxophonist Heath will talk about his old friend Coltrane with Eulis Cathey who was, one of the greatest jazz radio voices in Buffalo History. At 8 p.m. that night is when Handy on tenor will join George Caldwell and the great bassist Curtis Lundy in another group playing Coltrane Repertoire. Admission for that rare concert will also be $20.
This is the jazz event of the year. It is presented by the Pappy Martin Jazz Society.