Virtual Jazz at the Bechtler: Blue Trane



Jazz at the Bechtler went blue this September. Viewers got reflective with the Ziad Jazz Quartet as they captivate the audience with the sounds of John Coltrane’s Blue Train, Coltrane’s 40-plus-minute masterwork that has become known as one of the greatest jazz records of all time. Joining Ziad on The Playroom stage was Rick Simerly on trombone, Lynn Grissett on trumpet, Lovell Bradford on piano, Ron Brendle-acoustic bass and Rick Dior -drums.

Lovell Bradford (piano), an adjunct professor at Davidson College, has played on a number of top Gospel and jazz recordings. Bradford has performed with artists such as Pharez Whitted, Slide Hampton, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis and served as  Music Director for R&B/Gospel star Jennifer Holiday
Lynn Grissett (trumpet)- performed four years with Prince.  Other artists he has performed with include: Ellis Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Max Wienberg, the late Dewey Redman, Winard Harper, Cyrus Chestnut…..
Rick Simerly (trombone) has been described as “one of the most exciting and consistently creative trombonists in jazz today” by David Baker.  The Jazz Review declares “…when jazz fans think about great trombone players, only a few names come to mind; J.J. Johnson, Steve Turre, or maybe Bill Watrous. Soon jazz fans will be praising the slide horn of Rick Simerly.” The International Trombone Association Journal wrote “Rick leaves no doubt about his mastery… Rick is 'scary!'”

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More about Coltrane

As a session leader and his sole recording under his own name for Blue Note Records, Blue Train is John Coltrane’s 40-plus-minute masterwork that has become known as one of the greatest jazz records of all time. With John Coltrane as the bandleader in this session, other band members include jazz greats Lee Morgan, Paul Chambers, Curtis Fuller, Kenny Drew, and “Philly Joe” Jones, who round out this sextet. If not for a verbal agreement between Coltrane and label founder Alfred Lion, the Blue Train album might not have been.

What is significant about Blue Train is not so much Coltrane as a soloist, even though he is uniformly excellent throughout, but the overall quality of the material. His later work would become more intense, more experimental, and more emotionally powerful, but here, he’s establishing himself as a more dynamic figure than his first few releases properly displayed. As a bandleader and a performer, Coltrane had broken through to the next level, and as such, Blue Train stands as one of his most well-rounded and consistently strong collections of upbeat hard bop tracks and ballads.

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ex © 2021 Bechtler Museum of Modern Art All images and content copyright. All rights reserved. Credits: Design: MODE. Artwork Photography: JoAnn Sieburg-Baker, David Ramsey General Photography: Eric Bahrs, Mitchell Kearney, Gary O'Brien, Nancy Pierce, Maxim Vakhovskiy Copywriting: Pam Davis Charlotte Skyline Photo: courtesy of Visit Charlotte School of Paris: John Boyer (Copy), MODE (Design)
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