From Steve Griggs’ blog:

Two teenagers wait outside the club, ears tuned in a cool September night breeze for sounds from inside. No cover charge. No bouncer at the door. They slip through the entrance, make a quick left and hide in the coat closet. From behind the coats they see the band on stage. Someone shoos them out but they sneak back in.

The underage boys are drummers Gregg Keplinger and Dave Guilland. They hope to catch a glimpse of the band with the number one jazz album, A Love Supreme, led by John Coltrane, the musician voted best jazz saxophonist in Down Beat magazine. But a big draw for them is Elvin Jones, the percussionist blasting the band into orbit. The year is 1965.

The club is The Penthouse, a 225-seat tavern on the ground floor of an old hotel near the corner of 1st Avenue and Cherry in Seattle. The establishment is owned by Charlie Puzzo. He has another tavern nearby, The Playboy, with Seattle’s best jazz jukebox. But this club is the place to hear artists play live.

Puzzo’s booking manager, Bill Owens, sandwiched Coltrane’s week-long Seattle visit between the band’s gigs in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Owens whispers to his friends just before the band takes the stage, “This will be like nothing you have ever heard.” A critic for the Seattle Times, Ed Baker, is within earshot and jots down the comment for his review. He writes in his notebook, “Some members of the audience will hear chaos only; others will find beauty emerging from an inferno. It’s an experience—the most unusual experience that modern jazz has to offer.”

Continue reading on Steve Griggs’ blog.

Seattle Jazz