Davis and Coltrane Live in Stockholm (1960) Dragon


Coltrane speaks:

Interview Pt 1

Interview Pt2

Coltrane Plays:

So What (Live)

. . .


Miles Davis (t) John Coltrane (ts) Wynton Kelly (p) Paul Chambers (b) Jimmy Cobb (d) recorded at “Konserthuset”, Stockholm, Sweden, March 22, 1960 recorded by Karl-Erik Lindgren and engineers from Swedish Radio

Year: 1960

19601960: US Polaris missiles pointed at Moscow deployed off the coast of Sweden backed by US guarantee of military support. Russia decides Sweden too cold and depressing to invade, decides to attack somewhere warmer instead. Settles on Cuba.


A year after recording Kind of Blue, The Miles Davis 1960 European Tour, with Coltrane  reputedly bored with the repetition of Davis songs, already planning his departure to explore his own music, he blurts it all out to Swedish Radio, Miles Davis fired on air.

Far from sounding like someone bored with the repertoire, Coltrane is masterfully explorative, as though, in his mind,  he was already in rehearsal with his new band, The John Coltrane Quartet, guest appearance Miles Davis. At fifteen to twenty minutes a track, in a live setting, both he and Miles have ample space of their own. You can sense Coltrane reaching out to find his own voice, not just filing a routine  set of quickfire changes, but slow considered notes, giant steps, searching out new harmonic possibilities, building tension to the point when you begin to crave some blistering 32 notes per second release.  Give me angry John! You know you want to!

Critics have  mused on the remarkable chemistry of the great Quintet. In his personal life Davis was outgoing, intense, even violent, though his musical persona was cool and muted. Coltrane was similarly inverted, modest and humble in real life, while his playing was intense, violent, described by critics as “angry.”  Oops, LJC, don’t mention critics again, they will be all over you again like a cheap suit.

Wynton Kelly’s rolling piano moulds the magnificently tight rhythm section, three as one taking care of business so the two star performers can dance on air. No hint of approaching instrumental democracy, “we are all soloists now”. The hell we are, we are The Rhythm Section, and We Swing.

Vinyl: Dragon DRLP 90/91 , recorded 1960 released Sweden 1985. Recordings by engineers of Swedish Radio. Nice quality engineering with excellent vinyl transfer, all the more remarkable considering its 1985 provenance.


Collector’s Corner

Source: West-central London record shop, located off the periphery of the magnificent Hyde Park and the Serpentine lake. I often take advantage of the hour walk from here through the park back to my London train terminus. Several herons were out on display, posing on one leg in front of a giant twenty foot high Henry Moore sculpture, through which distant backdrop is Kensington Palace. The querulous and squabbling ducks on the giant lake are nesting at the moment, awaiting the imminent arrival of broods of fluff. Set in the sweeping grassy vista, sculpted beds planted out colourful blooms. Spring has sprung, my shoulder bag heavy with four new additions to  the Vinyl Family, spring in my step. Its a great time to be the London Jazz Collector.

23 thoughts on “Davis and Coltrane Live in Stockholm (1960) Dragon

  1. Wonderful site LJC ! This Dragon release is the first jazz recording I heard (or perhaps paid attention to) back in 1989. It listed among the many awesome tracks a number called All Blues. Searched where this came from and bought KOB on cassette tape. I then spent the better part of my spare time trying to find other albums in the same vein by exploring the solo careers of those players, Bill Evans, Coltrane, Chambers. What riches !
    Although I grew up on 70s rock, this has been my music ever since.


  2. Nice…Bought this record back in the 1980s from a great Manchester store called Decoy Records. Of course now it no longer exists. Coltrane remarks in the interview how he plays ALL the variations available. And the playing reminds me of the famous (whether true or not) quote attributed to Miles Davis in which he asks Coltrane why he plays for so long. Coltrane answers he doesn’t how to stop blowing. Just take the f**king horn out of your mouth, suggests MIles.
    I love the very intimate atmosphere of the interview – you can hear every nuance of the way he speaks. Apart from his incendiary playing I also love Wynton Kelly’s extended solos here.
    Epic stuff.


    • Yeah I loved that too. And the choice of his favourite record as Blue Train. “Blue Train, as recommended by …um… by John Coltrane” There is something about hearing his voice, it’s a little surreal.


      • Thanks so much for posting the interviews. Wonderful. I recently read books about Coltrane and Sonny (both by Eric Niesenson), and a repeated topic was how annoyed they both were by the supposed “rivalry” between them, which was in reality wholly concocted by the jazz press. While Sonny was an intense guy, Coltrane was so kindly that the idea of him “hating” a fellow tenorman is ludicrous. Nice to hear him, in his own voice, say as much. By the way, the Coltrane book – “Ascension” – is terrific. It’s part bio, part exploration of his musical path within the context of the overall change in jazz during the late ’50s into the mid-60s (which he, of course, led).


        • I haven’t read the one about Sonny Rollins, but I have read “Ascension” and “Round About Midnight” and I enjoyed them both very much.

          While I must apologize for giving LJC a most underserved hard time for ribbing Whitney Balliet, writing about music (at least writing coherently about music) is a perilous task. Eric Nisenson was that rare individual who had a talent for writing as well as great insight into music and the individuals who create it.

          “Ascension” does a great job of chronicling Coltrane’s incredibly lofty artistic ambition without turning into a “hagiography” (hat tip to Mr. Balliet).


          • The Rollins book – “Open Sky” – was written with the approval and cooperation of Sonny, and I think it suffers as a result. While well-written and containing a few nice tidbits, it’s much more of a contemporary hagiography because every point is accentuated with a lengthy quote from Sonny. So there is very little, if any, real criticism. For example, at a number of points, Sonny’s penchant for hiring and firing drummers is mentioned, but is always explained as a result of Sonny’s never-ending brilliant search for perfection. Which is nonsense – it simply can’t be true in every circumstance, and further there is no discussion of what anyone else in the business thinks about Sonny’s actions in this regard. Which may be nothing, but it’s simply not discussed. And so on.

            As a result, there is no distance, so it’s a lesser book, which is a shame, as Sonny’s such a fascinating character.


            • THE biography of Rollins was written by Richard Palmer, “SonnyRollins: The Cutting edge”. Editor EastNote, Hull Studies in Jazz. Pub. by the University of Hull Press, 1998.


      • Hearing Coltrane is definitely a little surreal. You read enough books and interviews with him but to hear him speak is amazing. He seems quite relaxed too.

        This set is now on my want list. Thanks for the post LJC.


        • In Autumn 1961 I talked with JC behind the stage in The Hague. As fans invariably ask, I asked for his best records. He said to get the Impulse albums. At the time I had not yet heard of the label, so he added it is the label I am recording with at the moment. you will see the albums in Europe very soon. And right he was. I bought very soon Impulse # 10 featuring the same group, incl. Eric Dolphy, I had heard in concert.


    • Correct Robert, but too literal, this is not the History Channel. The Russkies sited missiles in Cuba facing the US, courtesy of Fidel. Strictly speaking “Invasion” was unnecessary as they were invited, but it seemed to me invasion-lite.


      • The only country that invited Cuba was the USA – and they still maintain a base, replete with concentration camps there at Guantanamo. More recently the USA back a coup against the democratically backed government of Venezuela and invaded Iraq and Afganistan.


      • All permitted under the agreement with Churcill and Roosevelt. Dont forget the cold war was started and run by the USA, who still to this day have more nuclear arms than the rest of the world combined and are still to this day the only nation to use the nucelar bomb on another country (twice).


          • The main reason would be the Soviet Union. It was they more than anyone else who won the war. The fought the most and sustained most casualties and inflicted the greatest damage against the Germans. And it was the threat of Soviet involvement (not the USA dropping the nuclear bomb) that finally got the Japanese to surrender. A lot of young people today do not seem to realise this. Its a shame that history has been so distorted. Personally I find LJCs quips about nuclear bombs to be insensitive and immature.


            • D-Day was 70 years ago. In 1943, the year of the Battle of Stalingrad, the Soviet Union gave the nazis a decisive blow, marking the beginning of the end of WW2. Celebrations of this 70th Anniversary have taken place on the 9th May.


            • You mean the same Soviet Union that signed a non-agression pact with the Nazis?

              Clearly you believe that history is divided between good guys and bad guys and see the world as a simple morality tale. That’s your prerogative. I might suggest that you seek out a blog which is focused on fringe politics and/or the Second World War on which to discuss these topics rather than one focused on jazz LPs.

              As for being offended: it should go without saying that LJC meant no offense to anyone. Frankly, I have no idea which ‘offensive’ comment you are even referring to at this point. I would further suggest that if LJCs “insensitive and immature” remarks are so injurious to you, there is a simple solution: ignore them. And if LJC’s blog continues to be unbearably offensive to you, I’m sure you can find another site to frequent without too much difficulty.

              As we’ve all seen at this point, there’s room on the Internet for everyone.


              • Sorry, where am I?

                When I last looked this was a blog about modern Jazz. I turn my back for two days and it’s turned into a site about the history of the second world war. Bizarre!

                LJC immature and insensitive? Your computer must have some sort of virus if you can pick that up from this or any other post on his site.

                As felix says;- this site is for jazz, if you want an argument about the superpowers, Robert, then there will, undoubtedly, be a huge number of other sites for you to visit.

                Can we get back to the jazz now, please?



                • Thanks Guy, I really don’t mind being called “immature” – over the decades I have grown a lot older, but I hope, never grown up. There is still a naughty child in there, who just wants to play. As for “insensitive”, what do you call someone who as a guest, insults his host: “sensitive”?


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