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Alabama by John Coltrane

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On September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded inside 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. This church served as a meeting place for civil rights leaders.

After the bomb exploded, four young girls were killed and many parishioners were injured. After this incident, many confrontations occurred between the African-American community and the police. The African Community protested against the segregation policy, against a chief police that hated any kind of protest and replied to it with brutality, and a governor that was against any anti-segregation policy. All these clashes helped to draw attention nationally helped draw national attention to the hard-fought, often-dangerous struggle for civil rights for African-American.

Birmingham was known as Bombingham, after so many bombs exploded in African-American businesses, houses, and churches. Furthermore, Birmingham known as hosting one of the strongest Klu Klux Klan

John Coltrane was inspired by Martin Luther King’s speech, delivered in the church sanctuary three days after the bombing. His Alabama, as Reverend King speech, shifts its tone from one of mourning to one of renewed determination for the struggle against racially motivated crimes.

The saxophonist is accompanied by the members of his classic quartet: McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums.

Alabama was recorded in Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on November 18, 1963 –Months before the release of Live at Birdland, Coltrane and his quartet performed “Alabama” on the December 7, 1963 episode of Jazz Casual, which aired on National Educational Television (NET).

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