Stereo has been on overdrive yesterday and today… from the car to the computer to the actual stereo, there has been so much great music running through my brain and my being… My Morning Jacket… Rachel Yamagata… The Smiths… Ben Folds… Trashcan Sinatras…
I am still loving Thirteen Senses… Portugal. The Man… Mariachi El Bronx… and the new Paul Simon is great… back to the old Paul Simon! Okay, yes it has been out for five months… but I am really getting to it now. Come on, people. I am listening here!
But last week my friend and regular reader Patrick made mention that today, Sept. 23 would have been John Coltrane’s 85th Birthday. Given the fact that he is my favorite Sax player of all time and one of my favorite jazz musicians ever, this was a no brainer.
While I have not done this in a while, and it could be a little annoying at times, I guess… I used to ask people who had a famous last name, if they were related to so and so… Usually they would say no… sometimes they would roll their eyes since they had probably heard it a million times… but every once in a while…
I was working at the wine shop whose name cannot be spoken, when a woman walked in to buy some nice bottles. When she handed me her credit card, I asked if she was related to John Coltrane. She said, “yes, he was my step father.” So that was pretty cool right there. Same happened with the daughter of Mercury Morris… although that was a much more common name, so I have no idea where the question even came from!
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
In 1965 Impulse! Records released what is considered to be one of Trane’s true masterpieces. This four-part suite is a mix of bop and free jazz was recorded in one session at the Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Jersey!!! Rolling Stone listed this at #47 out of the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time… For me, it is simply sublime. It shows the true power of jazz… energy, surprise, spirituality and a sense of amazing movement. This album takes me on a different journey every time I hear it.
For Coltrane, spirituality was a key component, especially on this record. While there is much debate as to which “spirituality” he was harnessing or referring to… a particular religion, or as some say, the clarity and devotion he gained from a near drug overdose… it seems clear that he respected different beliefs and honors a universal notion here. This record is about love, faith and G-d. Take what you will.
I love how jazz critic Ira Gitler described his playing as being like “sheets of sound.” He kind of nails it right there. Phil Spector later created a “wall of sound,” but Trane played in sheets! And this album will just wrap you up…
Parts of “Acknowledgement” can be heard daily on KCRW. They open To the Point with the great Warren Olney… Trane’s music would be everywhere, and have an influence way beyond the world of jazz.
He died of liver cancer at age 40, leaving an amazing legacy, but gone way too young… sideman for Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis… band leader… icon… “His multi-tonic systems in jazz have become a technique known as “Coltrane changes“. Don’t ask me… I have no idea. What I do know is how much I adore his music… Blue Train, Soultrane, Giant Steps, My Favorite Things, Ballads and this one are proudly in my collection… They define jazz for me. They help define love.