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John Coltrane Memorial Concert records

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Z16-004

Content Description

The first John Coltrane Memorial Concert (JCMC) was performed on the tenth anniversary of John Coltrane’s death on July 17, 1977. In a performance space established by percussionist Syd Smart called the Friends of Great Black Music Loft, a group of musicians played to honor Coltrane and his legacy. The JCMC was created thought the efforts of Syd Smart, saxophonist Leonard Brown, and bassist Hayes Burnet. These three men founded the concert with the intent to showcase 1) The enduring genius of Coltrane’s music 2) Promote Black African-American musicians in positions of leadership and a dedication to enhancing and defining the musical traditions of Black African-American people. As such, they organized a concert honoring Coltrane that featured renditions of his musical compositions. Word spread quickly, and due the overwhelming attendance and positive response from the Boston community, the JCMC became a traditional Boston annual concert. In 2012 the musicians and planners incorporated Friends of John Coltrane Memorial Concert, Inc. (FJCMC), which was originally established as John Coltrane Memorial Concert in 1977.JCMC had many homes throughout the years. In the early eighties, the JCMC outgrew the seating capacity at the Loft and moved to the Modern Theatre for one year. From here, the JCMC moved to Emmanuel Church until 1985. In 1986, through the efforts of co-founder Leonard Brown, the JCMC became affiliated with Northeastern University. In this year, Dr. Brown became a member of the faculty of African American Studies and Music. By collaborating with Sergei Tschernisch, then director of NU Arts, Dr. Brown was successful in relocating the John Coltrane Memorial Concert to Northeastern. JCMC it has been in residence at NU over the past twenty nine years, providing the greater Boston and Cambridge communities with outstanding and memorable jazz performances. Created in 1992, the John Coltrane Memorial Concert Educational Outreach Program (JCMCEOP) was developed by Dr. Brown with the intent of bringing live performance of creative improvisational music to elementary and secondary students in Boston and Cambridge educational institutions. This program is designed to assist children in expressing themselves creatively through music. Over the decades, the JCMC has accrued a following of musicians and listeners alike, with a deep interest in Coltrane’s music. This collection documents the founding and flourishing of the John Coltrane Memorial Concert (JCMC). This collection contains a number of textual and non-textual documents dating back to the JCMC’s inception that provide an array of information about the financial, administrative, and creative on goings of the JCMC. The records provide information about the annual concert as well as its founders and its impact on the Boston music community. This collection contains numerous photos and posters from the annual shows and correspondence and planning for the John Coltrane Memorial Concert Educational Outreach program. The collection is unprocessed. 97/10, 97/12, RS11/S4 Accessioned 2015 Jul 02.

Restrictions Apply


Access Restrictions

Records are closed for 25 years from their date of creation, unless researchers have written permission from the creating office. Personnel records are restricted for 75 years from their date of creation.

Use Restrictions

Requests for permission to publish from this collection should be discussed with the University Archivist.


  • Creation: 1979-2013


7.15 cubic feet (7.15 cubic feet in 3 record center cartons, 10 medium oversize boxes, 13 poster boards, and 1 tube.)