Title Date Place Personnel Tunes Releases Notes
John Coltrane Quintet 29 November 1961
Kongressshalle, Frankfurt Germany John Coltrane (ts,ss); Eric Dolphy (as,fl); McCoy Tyner (pno); Reggie Workman (bass); Elvin Jones (dr). 376. My Favorite Things (fl) 19:08
377. Impressions (as) 16:27


The Coltrane reference corrected the dates for this concert and the Stuttgart concert.

LaMont Johnson wrote:

I was stationed at Rhein Main AFB, Germany from 1960-December 7, 1962. I was working as a flight crew member, doing highly interesting work. Due to the long missions, I would get breaks of three or four days at a time, giving me time to work with the David Feathers Rhein Main AFB Jazz All Stars (Feathers on trumpet, now deceased several years, a booper to his heart and a close buddy of Cedar Walton, Joseph D. Jackson, another Texas Tenor, bopping to his heart (Schillinger student out of Berkle, before Air Force), Sam Scott on bass, and Phillip D. "Philly Joe" Welch on the drums). This was not a flakey band.

David also knew Leo Wright, another truly great altoist with whom I have also had the rare chance to play. Leo told David that Diz was coming to Frankfurt. So our number one agenda was to hook up with Leo. Diz had Leo on alto, Lalo on piano, Bob Cunningham on bass (who later became one of my calls when he was in town), and I'm pretty sure it was Micky Roker (one of my early and dear Jazz friends, when I got back to the states). Another group was also featured on this concert: The John Coltrane Quintette, with McCoy, Elvin and Eric Dolphy - I think Steve Davis was the bassist with this group - check me on that (1961, Frankfurt Messe Halle).

After the concert, several of the musicians retired to the Jazz Kellar, a place where I just about lived, when I wasn't rehearsing with the group, or flying. Diz locked up with my bride, Annelore, and sat at a table with her the entire evening - quite a trip because Anne's english was minimal - I spoke fluent German. But I was on the bandstand with David, Leo, Elvin, Bob Cunningham and Eric Dolphy. There was no battle between Leo and Eric, because the dialects being spoken were totally different - Leo was a blazing bopper, fluid and lean, spiralling the bop up and out of that alto. Eric ran sequences, and core dumps, and pastiches and collages, permutations of inverted permutations, paradigms and paradoxes. I just kept playing the changes. At one point every body laid out at his request, except me.

And there I am, 19 on the verge of 20, pounding away with brutish, youthful enthusiasm, scarcely aware of Lalo Schifrin, (who is another story), waiting in the wings, while the genius of Dolphy filled the smokey bomb shelter, every crack in my cranium, and every crevice of my soul.

Another moment when it was really great to be LaMont Johnson.

... Thanks for jogging the memory. Fujioka is right. It was November, and it was the Kongress Halle. And you are right about the other drummer, Mel Lewis. He came up on the bandstand for one tune, and then Elvin just went up and took over the drums. The stand remained constant after that. I believe the reason Eric had everybody lay out (perhaps it's my own youthful conceit) was that the tune was Monk's "Well You Needn't", and I was running some inversions that I had been practising that were basically bitonal in nature, and I think he just wanted to hear how they went. Or, perhaps I was playing wrong changes, and he was trying to psych them out...

As a followup regarding that evening in Frankfurt, Lalo Schifrin, came up to the bandstand, and picked up "Donna Lee" after my solo. I went down and rescued my wife from the ever effervescent Diz, chatted with him for a while, and went home, dreaming of Eric Dolphy music.

Nights like that are so few in one's existence. The memorable moments remain fresh and vivid, even when some of the facts try to drift. The more I talk about that night, the fresher that whole scene becomes.