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Smithsonian Celebrates 50th Anniversary of John Coltrane's A Love Supreme

Jazz Appreciation Month Launches with Ravi Coltrane and Chuck Stewart

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History will kick off the 13th annual Jazz Appreciation Month March 26 with jazz photographer Chuck Stewart who will donate rare and never-before-seem images of jazz legend John Coltrane. Coltrane's son, Ravi Coltrane, will discuss his father's career and the famed studio album, widely considered one of the greatest jazz albums of all time and celebrating its 50th anniversary. During its own 50th anniversary year, the museum is displaying Coltrane's original score of A Love Supreme in the "American Stories" exhibition March 14–June 17.

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Stewart is best known for his depictions of jazz culture and popular jazz artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong. His photos have appeared as the cover art for more than 2,000 albums. Stewart's donation includes unpublished photographs from the A Love Supreme recording session and images from long-forgotten, recently discovered negatives of photographs taken in 1964.

Ravi Coltrane is a producer and jazz musician as well as the co-founder of the record label RKM Music. He has toured extensively with other jazz musicians and is a Blue Note recording artist with his Ravi Coltrane Quartet. Coltrane will discuss his father's work and the impact of A Love Supreme on jazz music and culture, as well as perform later that day.

Coltrane (1926–1967) and his quartet recorded his masterpiece, A Love Supreme, on
Dec. 9, 1964. The album is a four-part suite, broken up into tracks: "Acknowledgement" (which contains the mantra that gave the suite its name), "Resolution," "Pursuance" and "Psalm." The composition melds the hard bop sensibilities of his early career with the free jazz style he adopted later. He dedicated the album to God in thanks for his 1957 spiritual awakening. Although he embraced Christianity, Coltrane was deeply interested in world religions and cultures, and was said to own more than 1,000 books primarily on Jewish and Islamic mysticism, later also introducing African and Indian elements.

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The museum launched JAM in 2001 as an annual event that pays tribute to jazz both as a historic and living American art form. It has since grown to include celebrations in all 50 states and 40 other countries. The lead sponsor for JAM 2014 is the Argus Fund. In celebrating JAM, the museum joins with a diverse group of organizations, institutions, corporations, associations and federal agencies that have provided financial and in-kind support, as well as organizing programs and outreach of their own.  More information about JAM can be found at http://smithsonianjazz.org/.

The Smithsonian operates the world's most comprehensive set of jazz programs, and the National Museum of American History is home to jazz collections that include 100,000 pages of Duke Ellington's unpublished music. A number of jazz treasures, including Gillespie's trumpet, Tony Bennett's oil painting of Fitzgerald and Herbie Hancock's cordless keyboard are on display.

The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra was founded in 1990 with an appropriation from the U.S. Congress in recognition of the importance of jazz in American culture and its status as a national treasure. The 17-member big band, led by conductor and artistic director Charlie Young, serves as the orchestra-in-residence at the National Museum of American History. The SJMO is on a national tour this spring. More information about the SJMO is available at www.sjmo.org.

Through its collections, research and public outreach, the National Museum of American History explores the infinite richness and complexity of American history. It helps people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future. The museum is currently renovating its west exhibition wing, developing galleries on business, democracy and culture. For more information, visit http://americanhistory.si.edu.

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SOURCE Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

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