At the time of Coltrane’s death I was 7 years old and more interested in Lego than jazz. It would be another 10 years before I started to grasp the significance of the loss of Coltrane to the world of jazz. It was around that time that my father introduced me to jazz, I think he was on his second copy of Miles Davis’s “Kind Of Blue” (The first had long worn out) and I was finally in a place where I could appreciate the artistry.
This album had a profound impact on me and led to a drive to collect and digest every recorded note I could find from these amazing musicians. While my contemporaries were listening to Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, I spent my time transcribing (or at least attempting to) solo’s by the great John Coltrane. I needed to understand where he was coming from and it took years to realize that it had nothing to do with music theory, it was spiritual. In both implicit and explicit ways, Coltrane also functioned as a religious figure. Addicted to heroin in the 1950s, he quit cold turkey, and later explained that he had heard the voice of God during his anguishing withdrawal. In 1964, he recorded A Love Supreme, an album of original praise music in a free-jazz mode… In 1966, an interviewer in Japan asked Coltrane what he hoped to be in five years, and Coltrane replied, “A saint.”
Now 57 years old, it’s on this day I feel the need to pause and remember one of the most influential figures in my musical life.
I’ve found this amazing video (At the top of this post) of Coltrane with the legendary quartet of McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones performing “My Favourite Things” two years before his death in Belgium. – Enjoy.