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Night Lights Classic Jazz

Away From the Spaceways: John Gilmore

Tenor saxophonist John Gilmore spent most of his career with Sun Ra and his Arkestra, recording outside of Sun Ra’s band on only a handful of occasions.

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photo of Sun Ra saxophonist John Gilmore

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Tenor saxophonist John Gilmore.

Tenor saxophonist John Gilmore, who influenced John Coltrane and helped to pioneer the challenging techniques of 1960s avant-garde saxophone, spent most of his career with Sun Ra and his Arkestra, recording outside of Sun Ra’s band on only a handful of occasions. His powerful, edgy style combined aspects of hardbop and outside playing; we’ll hear examples of it with pianists Andrew Hill and Paul Bley, as well as recordings that Gilmore made with McCoy Tyner, Elmo Hope, Pete LaRoca, and Art Blakey (a rare broadcast version of the ballad “I Can’t Get Started”), in addition to his 1957 Blue Note date with fellow tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan.

Update: Here’s an interesting discussion of the Gilmore-Coltrane musical relationship.

Watch John Gilmore with Lee Morgan and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in 1965:

Music Heard On This Episode

No Doubt
Andrew Hill — Andrew! (Blue Note, 1964)
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No Doubt
Andrew Hill — Andrew! (Blue Note, 1964)
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Status Quo
John Gilmore/Clifford Jordan — Blowin' In From Chicago (Blue Note, 1957)
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T & A Blues
McCoy Tyner — Today & Tomorrow (Impulse, 1964)
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Monique
Elmo Hope — Sounds From Riker's Island (Audio Fidelity, 1963)
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Ida Lupino
Paul Bley — Turning Point (IAI, 1964)

Notes: Carla Bley composition.

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Sin Street
Pete LaRoca — Turkish Women at the Bath (32 Jazz, 1967)

Notes: Midpoint music bed.

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Duplicity
Andrew Hill — Andrew! (Blue Note, 1964)
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I Can't Get Started
Art Blakey — Are You Real (Moon Records, 1965)

Notes: live broadcast

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Love Planet
Pete LaRoca — Turkish Women at the Bath (32 Jazz, 1967)

Notes: With Chick Corea on piano.

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Turning
Paul Bley — Turning Point (IAI, 1964)
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And So
Pete LaRoca — Turkish Women at the Bath (32 Jazz, 1967)
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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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