I am once again listening to a glorious reissue of my gateway jazz LP, John Coltrane‘s Impressions remastered by the great German label, Speakers Corner Records. They do a fantastic job reissuing the classics on 180 gram vinyl.
The terms, ‘virgin,” heavyweight,’ or ‘180 gram’ refer to the mass of vinyl used in the pressing of the cut. Whereas most standard LPs are either 120 or 150 grams, the 180 gram vinyl is commonly used for modern audiophile releases. The extra thickness allows for deeper cuts, thus, more music information can be stored in the grooves. The vinyl is also less prone to warping because it’s thicker. And at 12-inch, 45 RPM, the grooves themselves can have wider separations throughout the LPs, resulting in wider tonal variety, meaning more dynamic sound—perfect for audiophiles.
Listening to this endlessly amazing cut, “India,” which was inspired by Ravi Shankar, who taught Coltrane about Indian music, I am reminded of an Englishman by the name of David Greene who loved this kind of music. When I began dj-ing the night shifts at KCRW, this guy David Greene would call every time I played Coltrane, and that was often quite late at night.
Then, when I became Music Director in 1979, David Greene would still call, saying that he wanted a late night shift at KCRW where he could play Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, and other soul-enriching music. He said he was willing do it on any air shift, the later the better.
Only later did I discover that this David Greene person was a high profile motion picture and television director, a five-time Emmy winner who had numerous blockbuster movies and television series to his credit. He never personally revealed this to me, but I had a sense of this when he invited me over to his historic Santa Monica home (on beautiful Adelaide Avenue) years ago for a listening session on vintage tube amps and Quad ESL 57s (Electrostatic Loudspeakers) that blew my mind, and we were interrupted by a phone call from Farah Fawcett Majors, who happened to be acting in one of his upcoming miniseries.
David Greene passed away in 2003, but I remember him as having been an ardent lover of Coltrane’s ecstatic music. He told me stories of what it was like when Coltrane cut the immortal sessions for the Impressions album at the Village Vanguard back in November of 1961. Every night he was there in total musical ecstasy, screaming himself into a trance.
That’s how I remember the late David Greene when I listen to Coltrane’s Impressions.
Here’s a short, nine-part Speakers Corner Records series on their mastering process and the production of 180 gram vinyl. It’s in German, but still fascinating to watch.