During the launch of Jazz Appreciation Month, the great jazz photographer Chuck Stewart donated 25 images of John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, including never-before-seen shots of A Love Supreme recording session.

http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2014/03/27/coltrane1_wide-7dcdc4027a5ebd3896c85e4c69e92b4f7bc95b09-s6-c30.jpg Chuck Stewart/Courtesy of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History 

“Recently, his son David was browsing through his archives when he found six undeveloped rolls of film from December 1964, 50 years ago. They portrayed the saxophonist at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, across the Hudson River from New York City, and not far from Stewart’s own home. Coltrane was documenting a four-part, spiritually grounded suite with his quartet, a work that would soon be hailed as a masterpiece and a landmark of 20th-century music: the album ‘A Love Supreme’.”

The photographs capture rare moments of Coltrane in deep reflection and in discussion with fellow musicians such as saxophonist Archie Shepp and pianist McCoy Tyner. In addition to these shots, The Museum of American History received one of John Coltrane’s tenor saxophones as a new donation, a gift from the Coltrane estate.

Head over to one of our favorite blogs, NPR’s A Blog Supreme, to see this historic moment brought to life through captivating photographs and to learn more!

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