Reviving the House Coltrane Built
Signs of a Turnaround for Impulse Records
By Nate Chinen
nytimes.com April 22, 2014
Henry Butler, the New Orleans jazz pianist, released his debut album, “Fivin’ Around,” in 1986. And along with ratifying a major talent — a smartly rampaging virtuoso whose engagement in New York soon afterward drew a smattering of notable pianists — it signaled the reactivation of Impulse Records, the storied former home of the saxophonist John Coltrane, which had then been dormant for nearly a decade. “We had a nice little hand in reviving the label at that time,” Mr. Butler recalled this week.
History may be about to repeat itself, in a fashion. Impulse has, in effect, been quiet since the late 1990s. But on July 15 it will release “Viper’s Drag,” a new album by Mr. Butler and the trumpeter Steven Bernstein. The first in a series of scheduled new releases, it represents another hopeful reboot for the label.