via Temple University Urban Archives

On Friday, November 11, 1966, when John Coltrane took the stage of Temple University’s Mitten Hall, he was at a stage in his evolution when music seemed to erupt forth from his body, and it was all he could do to place his horn in front of it to channel the torrent of sound. At times during this particular concert that didn’t happen; instead, he steps to the microphone and sings/chants/bellows in an almost primal wail, beating his chest for effect.

Those moments are in part why this particular concert has become legendary over the past half-century, but the performance never received an official release until this year. The newly-resurrected Impulse! label, in conjunction with Resonance Records, is issuing the show on September 23rd as Offering: Live at Temple University to coincide with what would have been the sax titan’s 88th birthday. The sound quality of the two-disc set, originally captured and broadcast by WRTI, is imperfect, but it captures Trane at his ferocious height, with a one-time-only band featuring usual compatriots Pharoah Sanders, Rashied Ali, and wife and pianist Alice Coltrane; Philly bassist Sonny Johnson stepping in for Jimmy Garrison; a few local saxophonists who decide to sit in; and a battery of percussionists who Coltrane had met in a drum circle at North Philly’s Church of the Advocate, near his former Strawberry Mansion home.

The same day, Ars Nova Workshop, Temple University Libraries, and Resonance Records will host a panel discussion on the recording and Coltarne’s legacy at Paley Library, moderated by WRTI’s J. Michael Harrison. In attendance will be Philadelphia-based jazz critic Francis Davis, who was in the audience of the Temple performance during his undergrad days; jazz historian John Szwed; and Baltimore saxophonist Carl Grubbs, who was also at the show and is the cousin of Coltrane’s first wife, Naima, whose namesake song opened the concert in a thoroughly mutated form.  More information for the event can be found here.