Meditations, along with Ascension, an even more groundbreaking album recorded the same year, represent a line of demarcation for what is known as Coltrane’s Late Period, referring to the passionately expressive music that this titan of the saxophone and modern jazz performed in the last three years of his all-too short life. From 1965 until his death, Coltrane was heroically prolific and reaching ever outward; his music was even freer rhythmically and harmonically than that of his cutting edge work a scant few years earlier, on pieces such as “Giant Steps” and “Impressions”. For his admirers, then and now, Meditations is a notable expression of Coltrane’s creative spirit and deep faith–both as a soloist and leader of his like-minded players. This concert carries on the tradition, instigated by Dave Liebman and arranger Gunnar Mossblad to commemorate Coltrane and the original recording of Meditations. This is the premiere of Gunnar’s arrangement for the Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra. It includes many passages in which Mossblad effectively “recomposes” the improvisations of the musicians bringing forth a new realization of this vital work.
--Stephanie Crease, MSM Jazz Arts Coordinator