Miles Davis: Olympia 1960 - JazzWax

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November 27, 2007


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Sweet, time to keep my eyes open...

Mark M

Just so you know, whistling in Europe is generally their form of booing - think futbol matches, speeches getting shouted down, etc. So it's not clear at all that Trane was getting whistles of encouragement. In fact, he was probably getting booed. (Hope to track down these CD's myself.)


coltrane's solo on "all of you"is an all time favourite.he sidles in after miles's solo and builds and builds.the audience reaction i gather was mixed, some blown away but more, nonplussed.he certainly generated heated discussion.


Thanks for the excellent posting. I agree completely with the importance and beauty of this concert!

I was surprised about the date of the Olympia show and wanted to verify the itinerary you posted, so I consulted Lewis Porter's excellent book, 'John Coltrane - His Life and Music' in which he gives a chronology of dates.

Porter does indeed confirm the date of the Olympia show as March 21, but he indicates two differences from your itinerary (preceded below by '>'):

March 21: Paris, Olympia Theatre
March 22: Stockholm Konserthuset (two concerts)
>March 23: Njardhallen, Oslo, Norway
March 24: Tivoli Konsertsal, Copenhagen
March 25: Niedersachsenhalle, Hannover
March 26: Weser-Ems-Halle, Oldenburg
March 27: Sportpalast, Berlin
>March 28: Deutches Museum, Munich, Germany
March 28: Unknown venue, Bremen

bebe de herbdecrabe

I have these CDs and also am of the opinion that the whistling was in fact a negative reaction to the way Coltrane was playing, particularly on Green Dolphin Street and especially on Blackbird, where booing is clearly audible. Notice how on the coda of Blackbird, Miles starts by playing the melody straight, then goes "outside" as if to admonish the audience for not appreciating what Trane is doing, and gets booed himself. It's said that during this tour sometimes as much as half the audience would walk out. Also, much like the Complete Stockholm set, there is a Complete set of the same tours' Amsterdam shows...


In the CD notes (originally issued by Trema) it is clearly stated (by Stéphane Grappelli and Réne Utreger, who presumably were there) that the whistles were in fact signs of disapproval with Trane's long and experimental soloing. No doubts about it.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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