His attraction to Coltrane is immediately recognizable. “His goal was to create music that was universal and based in spirituality,” Brown tells me on the phone from San Francisco, where the orchestra is based. For the JCMC, his program will be split into two parts, India and Africa (named for two Coltrane compositions), and it will, Brown hopes, demonstrate Coltrane’s universal inclusiveness. “We actually start with ‘Living Space,’ the only recording I’m aware of where Coltrane overdubbed or multi-tracked different saxophones. When he did that, it made me think of gagaku, which is the imperial court music of Japan — the way the lines trace each other but not in complete unison. I knew he wrote that piece after he had gone to Japan. He brought back a shakuhachi [end-blown bamboo flute], because I’d interviewed Elvin Jones in 2003, and I asked him how important the trip to Japan was, and Elvin said, ‘Trane brought back a shakuhachi, and he never took it out of his mouth — he’d even play it while he was driving the car.’ ”
In the Coltrane concert, Brown will take various pieces — like “India,” “Africa,” and “Living Space” — and return them to their roots and trace the global influences. Even though it’s Japanese, gagaku “was brought from China but originated in Northern India.” This will segue to “Olé,” Coltrane’s flamenco-inspired 1962 piece from the Atlantic album of the same title. “Flamenco, of course, came from the Gypsies, and the Gypsies trace their roots all the way back to Northwestern India.” The second half of the concert will move to Africa, including “Dahomey Dance” (from the flip side of Olé), and to the Afro-Cuban “Afro Blue,” which was written by Mongo Santamaria and covered by Coltrane. Expect to hear shakuhachi, Indian sarod, and a broad orchestral palette that encompasses Coltrane’s music as Brown imagines Coltrane might have eventually orchestrated it.
STANTON MOORE TRIO | Paradise Rock Club, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | September 21 at 8 pm | $15 | 617.562.8814 or ticketmaster.com | JOHN COLTRANE MEMORIAL CONCERT | Blackman Theatre, 360 Huntington Ave, Boston | September 18 at 7:30 pm | $20 | 617.3734700 or jcmc.neu.edu