Remembering Freedom Summer and ‘A Love Supreme’

Jazz at Holmes celebrates two 50th anniversaries Oct. 9

In the summer of 1964, thousands of volunteers from across the United States traveled south to register African-American voters in Mississippi. The 10-week project became a touchstone of the Civil Rights Era.

A few months later, saxophonist John Coltrane gathered his quartet at the Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. In the course of a single session, the group recorded what would become one of the most influential albums in jazz: “A Love Supreme.”

From “Remembering Mississippi Freedom Summer,” on view at Olin Library through Oct. 25. The exhibition highlights primary source materials from the WUSTL Libraries’ newly acquired Richard Beymer Collection and its inaugural Henry Hampton Collection. (Credit: Richard Beymer Collection)

On Thursday, Oct. 9, Jazz at Holmes, in collaboration with Washington University Libraries, will celebrate both anniversaries with a free concert titled “Remembering Freedom Summer ’64 & John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme.’ ”

The concert comes in conjunction with the exhibition “Remembering Mississippi Freedom Summer,” on view in Olin Library through Saturday, Oct. 25.

The performance, which begins at 8 p.m. in Holmes Lounge, will feature some of St. Louis’ foremost Coltrane interpreters and musical descendants performing works from “A Love Supreme” and other music of the period. Performers will include saxophonists Paul DeMarinis and Freddie Washington; guitarist William Lenihan; and drummer Maurice Carnes, along with bassist Jeff Anderson, drummer Steve Davis and pianist Kara Baldus.

Prior to the performance, at 7 p.m., Patrick Burke, associate professor of music in Arts & Sciences, will moderate a panel discussion. The author of “Come In and Hear the Truth: Jazz and Race on 52nd Street” (2008), Burke is currently writing a book on the racial politics of 1960s rock music.

“The discussion will focus on the music of John Coltrane, it’s implications towards a movement of spiritually charged expressions in improvised music, and the relationship between the practices of the black church and improvisation,” said Lenihan, professor of the practice in music and director of Jazz Studies.

“Coltrane set the stage for a methodology, a way of approaching improvisation, that enabled a new approach to group interaction.”

Jazz at Holmes

Jazz at Holmes presents free campus concerts in a relaxed, coffee-house setting most Thursday evenings throughout the year.
All performances take place from 8-10 p.m. in Holmes Lounge, Ridgley Hall. For more information, call 314-862-0874; email; or visit Jazz at Holmes on Facebook.

Jazz at Holmes is sponsored by Arts & Sciences; Student Union; Congress of the South 40; the Department of Music and American Culture Studies, both in Arts & Sciences;University College and Summer School; Campus Life; Danforth University Center and Event Management; Community Service Office; Office of Student Involvement and Leadership; Greek Life Officel and the Office of Residential Life.