John Coltrane Memorial Concert Showcases Boston’s Vibrant Jazz Community

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Stan Strickland and Bill Pierce

In 1977 a group of Boston musicians – Hayes Burnet, Syd Smart and Leonard Brown – initiated the John Coltrane Memorial Concert as a way of recognizing the genius of one of America’s greatest musicians and composers. The concert venue changed for the first several years before moving permanently to Northeastern University, where Dr. Leonard Brown was hired as Associate Professor of African American Studies and Music.

Fast forward four decades later, and the 41st Annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert remains a centerpiece of Boston’s vibrant jazz scene. The concert is set to take place on Saturday, December 15 at Northeastern’s Blackman Auditorium under the musical direction of Dr. Carl Atkins. It is an evening of reflection and re-animation of John Coltrane’s compositions, legacy and philosophy.

This year’s concert honors two master JCMC alumni: Bill Pierce and Stan Strickland, both of whom have made indelible musical contributions to the world.

Purchase tickets here.

The success of the annual concert has been recognized by fans of jazz and by local public officials. In 2017 Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker gave the John Coltrane Memorial Concert an official citation on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh presented a John Coltrane Memorial Concert proclamation.

Read this 2011 MassJazz interview with Dr. Leonard Brown talking about John Coltrane and his legacy.

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