Night Lights Classic Jazz

Red Trane: the Collaborations of John Coltrane and Red Garland

Garland and Coltrane's collaborations over a two-year period in the late 1950s produced some of the most lush and accessible music of the saxophonist's career.

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Coltrane Garland

Photo: Album cover art

When Trane met Red.

John Coltrane and pianist Red Garland, who both worked in Eddie Cleanhead Vinson’s late-1940s group, began playing together again in 1955 as part of Miles Davis’ quintet. Davis sought Garland out for his relaxed, block-chord style and his ability to impart an Ahmad Jamal-like sound; Coltrane, nearly 30 years old, was at a troubled juncture in his personal and professional life, still dogged by a drug addiction that would force Davis to eventually fire him.

In 1957 Coltrane turned his life around, kicking drugs and joining the Thelonious Monk quartet. He also began to record prolifically as a leader for Prestige, the same label for which Red Garland recorded. The two men made many records together throughout 1957 and 1958, resulting in a popular and accessible collaborative jazz legacy that’s just one of several achievements from this early and significant turning point in John Coltrane’s career. We’ll hear recordings from the albums Soultrane, Traneing In, High Pressure, and All Mornin’ Long.

Music Heard On This Episode

Soft Lights and Sweet Music
John Coltrane — Traneing In (Prestige, 1957)
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Soft Lights and Sweet Music
John Coltrane — Traneing In (Prestige, 1957)

Notes: Irving Berlin song.

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You Leave Me Breathless
John Coltrane — Traneing In (Prestige, 1957)
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Undecided
Red Garland — High Pressure (Prestige, 1957)
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Russian Lullaby
John Coltrane — Soultrane (Prestige, 1958)

Notes: Recording that inspired Ira Gitler's

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You Say You Care
John Coltrane — Soultrane (Prestige, 1958)

Notes: Midpoint music bed.

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I Want to Talk About You
John Coltrane — Soultrane (Prestige, 1958)

Notes: Billy Eckstine song.

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Our Delight
Red Garland — All Mornin' Long (Prestige, 1957)

Notes: Tadd Dameron song.

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Come Rain or Come Shine
John Coltrane — The Last Trane (Prestige, 1958)
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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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