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Full scream ahead: John Coltrane's Both Directions at Once / The Guardian

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Missing presumed lost, Both Directions at Once is a newly discovered session recorded on 6 March 1963 by John Coltrane with Elvin Jones (drums), McCoy Tyner (piano) and Jimmy Garrison on bass. The tape has survived in good condition but the way we hear it now has changed significantly in the 55 years spent in limbo (in care of the family of Coltrane's first wife, Naima, apparently). Back then, what was to come, musically, was only a possibility, partly contained by what was already there. Now we also hear what was destined to be left behind. That which had not existed is now dated: literally in the sense that we know the date, but also because it has been made to sound older by virtue of what Coltrane went on to do.

In the liner notes ​Sonny Rollins​ likens the discovery of this session to '​finding a new room in the great pyramid'

The week's crowded schedule also highlights how much was happening for Coltrane and, by extension, in jazz generally, at this period. The timescale on which his career as a leader can be charted is painfully concentrated. In tandem with – and right after – his work with Miles Davis in the late 1950s, Coltrane recorded several albums under his own name but he did not settle on a definitive line-up for the quartet until late 1961. A Love Supreme was recorded in December 1964. Seven months later came Ascension, a clamorous declaration of freedom featuring an extended ensemble that still commands awe even if listening to it is no longer the essential rite of agonised passage it once was.

Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album by John Coltrane is out now on Impulse!. Geoff Dyer's book about jazz, But Beautiful, is published by Canongate.

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