Now regarded as one of the most iconic figures in jazz history, back in the late 1950s John Coltrane was a regular “gun for hire” participating in many sessions by studio-assembled bands led by a wide array of leaders. None were more unusual than the two albums he recorded with Ray Draper, a truly unique exponent of modern jazz tuba. Although still in his teens, the prodigal brassman was already a member of drummer Max Roach’s group and had begun to emerge as an equally promising composer, highlighted by the number of themes from his pen featured on these two sets. Recorded during Coltrane’s celebrated “sheets of sound” period, Draper’s brace of albums are noteworthy for their inclusion of three compositions written by the other twin-peak of modern jazz saxophone, Sonny Rollins, two of which Coltrane did not record elsewhere. A fascinating and engaging footnote to Coltrane’s career, these albums have been in and out of print for years but this is the first ever to bring them together on one CD release. Complete with a comprehensive booklet essay by noted saxophonist Simon Spillett, detailing Draper’s short-lived and tragic career, this album is a forgotten gem of modern jazz.
Tracks 1-6: John Coltrane (tenor sax); Ray Draper (tuba); Gil Coggins (piano); Spanky De Brest (bass); Larry Ritchie (drums) Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, December 20th 1957 Originally issued on The Ray Draper Quintet featuring John Coltrane, New Jazz NJ-8228
Tracks 7-12: John Coltrane (tenor sax); Ray Draper (tuba); John Mayer (piano); Spanky De Brest (bass); Larry Ritchie (drums)New York, November 1958 Originally issued on Ray Draper: A Tuba Jazz, Jubilee JLP 1090