Rare McCoy and Trane on YouTube


In Spring 1965, the classic Trane quartet with Tyner, Garrison and Jones played quite a bit at the Half Note. Bootlegs of the material – mostly radio broadcasts – have circulated for decades. Indeed, an illegal three-LP set from Audio Fidelity that included some of those tunes was my very first Coltrane album, purchased for a few bucks from the mail order vendor Publishers Clearing House.

According to the Tom Lord discography (verified by David Wild) the four Half Note sessions are:

WABC FM radio broadcast, "Half Note", New York, March 19, 1965
"Lonnie's Lament" 
"Chim Chim Cheree"

Live "Half Note Cafe", New York, March 26, 1965
"One Down One Up" 
"Afro Blue"

WABC FM radio broadcast, "Half Note", New York, April 2, 1965
"Untitled Original" AKA "Creation" (ei: I've also heard it called "Chromaticon") 
"I Want to Talk About You" 
"Afro Blue" (incomplete)

WABC FM radio broadcast, "Half Note", New York, May 7, 1965
"Song of Praise"
"My Favorite Things"

In 2005 Impulse put out Live at the Half Note: One Down, One Up, consisting of the second and fourth sessions. 

At the time, in my review for DownBeat, I complained about how they didn't release the all the Half Note material. Several of the other tracks are simply essential. Maybe someday everything can get a proper release, although that moment may have been lost as YouTube get more and more rare content. Some of the most highly sought trade items among collectors are now just a click away.

"Creation" is remarkably fast and intense. A one off; for me even greater than "One Down, One Up."

"Impressions" is also really fast and has an astounding McCoy solo. For once he plays longer than Trane.

I'm most excited to find "I Want to Talk About You," previous only obtainable to my ears by going to Billy Hart's house and listening to a Japanese collector's cassette tape marked DO NOT DUPLICATE. Over the years I've looked for it on various pirated releases, but it was always another "I Want to Talk About You" from an earlier Half Note set.

Again, McCoy takes one of his best solos, but unlike "Impressions," where Coltrane sounds a bit diffident in response,  on "I Want to Talk About You" Coltrane downshifts into a stunning deconstruction while the band churns away. Usually Coltrane's cadenza was the highlight of this tune, but this time there's no cadenza: he's said it all already.

[UPDATE:  The whole April 2 set is up with better sound and pitch here.]

From later in 1965 (I believe, I can't find "official" documentation anywhere) McCoy plays "On Green Dolphin Street" with Scotty Holt and Jack DeJohnette

I'm listening to a lot of McCoy at the moment, probably working towards a future DTM post. This "On Green Dolphin" ranks easily as one of his greatest trio performances. 

Are there any more tunes from the date? There's also some live stuff with Henry Grimes and DeJohnette from around the same time I see listed occasionally…

[UPDATE: Yes! Here is "Summertime" and a C Minor blues.]

It would be nice to put out a well-produced "rare 60's McCoy" album while the master is still around. My services as liner note scribe are offered gratis if the right label has the interest and clearance to do a good job on that worthy project.