Pursuance: The Coltranes. A cohesive walk through the lineage of the jazz artform, Benjamin’s third full-length release as a leader pays homage to two of the greatest musical innovators of the 20th century, John and Alice Coltrane. As Abiodun Oyewole iterates as part of Benjamin’s rendition of Coltrane’s classic “Acknowledgment” off of the groundbreaking album ‘A Love Supreme’, “John Coltrane was a vessel, taking us to the house of god, he spoke to god in the language god knew, in the language of sound.”
With this release, Benjamin opens herself up as such a vessel, speaking timeless truths through her horn over the medium of Coltrane’s classic compositions alongside elders of this artform who bore witness to the conception of this material. Under the tutelage of jazz luminary and co-producer Reggie Workman whose supple bass lines underscored countless Alice and John Coltrane’s recordings, Benjamin has assembled an astonishing cross-generational ensemble of over 40 jazz heavyweights that includes Ron Carter, Gary Bartz, Regina Carter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Meshell Ndegeocello, Steve Wilson, Marc Cary, Keyon Harrold, Marcus Strickland, Brandee Younger and Jazzmeia Horn — Three generations of musical titans gathered to celebrate and further the message of the great maestros of this improvisational art form, John and Alice Coltrane.
There’s always been an undeniable mystical, enticing element to the music of the Coltranes and on Pursuance, Benjamin is mindful of retaining the underlying spirituality of these compositions – “they were writing songs to indian gods, to christian gods, to muslim gods – their whole idealogy was that every religion is one and we’re all one with god.” In this regard, Pursuance speaks to the unifying nature of the jazz artform.
Every member of this cross-generational recording ensemble welcomed the opportunity to collaborate and pay homage to each other. “Music is a reflection of our times; a reflection of the spirit of our times,” Benjamin continues. “In our current social and political climate, we need music to heal the soul.” Just as the timeless compositions of the Coltranes connected with audiences of yesteryear, Pursuance brings this material into 2020 with carefully conceived modern arrangements. Each of the thirteen tracks on Pursuance are tunes that instantly resonated with Benjamin upon first listen – seven of which originally composed by John, with six credited to Alice. The selection includes “Liberia”, “Prema”, “Central Park West”, “Walk With Me”, “Going Home”, “Syeeda’s Song Flute”, “Spiral”, “Om Shanti”, “Alabama”, “Acknowledgement”, “Pursuance”, “Turiya and Ramakrishna” and “Affinity”.
Reflecting on this project, the saxophonist and bandleader brings light to her utmost admiration for the Coltranes and their collaboration that, musically, spiritually and emotionally culminated in one, whole, complete unit – “as an artist, it’s difficult to balance your personal life and career. This is a perfect example of a couple who had the best of both worlds – they took care of themselves, took care of the music, worked together, played together and they exemplified a completely functional, amazing relationship. You don’t need to sacrifice your art or your love – you can be one complete whole individual.”
Release Date: 27 March 2020
Format: CD | Digital
Label: Roperdope Records
New Release Spotify Playlist
The Jazz In Europe New Release playlist features tracks from the new releases featured on Jazz In Europe. Updated weekly, this playlist is the perfect place to discover new music from the leading jazz musicians currently on the scene. We hope you enjoy this selection.
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Last modified: March 24, 2020