Today is John Coltrane's birthday (born in Hamlet, North Carolina on September 23, 1926). He would have been 85 years of age. Surprisingly I haven't mentioned him much (if at all) on this site as I felt his sound didn't really fit the format of this blog, meaning his recordings aren't the kind of thing you drop on the dancefloor and expect people to "get down" to. However that being said, Coltrane is my favorite artist of all-time (only competing with the great Arthur Russell). The last record I generally spin at night, when I'm hangin' out at home, tends to be one of the many LP's (Over 20) I own by the legendary jazz giant. Some of my favorites include Africa/Brass, Olé Coltrane, A Love Supreme, Impressions, My Favorite Things, Kulu Se Mama, Coltrane (1962 Impulse version), Giant Steps, as well as many others. I'm not going to try to sum up Coltrane's brilliant and complex career with this post because their is a book worth of material if not more to examine and discuss. Many great writer's have already done that, therefore I'll just keep it simple and say that John Coltrane's sound, compositions, and releases are more than music to me, it's more like a spiritual experience that has the ability to unleash multiple emotions all at once by being subtle yet complex. The first time I heard A Love Supreme I was actually in an airplane and dealing with some intense anxiety due to my constant fear of flying, and by the time Part 4: "Psalm" (the final track) completed I felt extremely calm and the emotional transition had nothing to do with anything other than the music I just heard. From there on out I became hooked on Coltrane's music and sound. Coltrane was the first artist to really open me up to the spiritual side of jazz which eventually led me to discovering my love for other spiritual jazz artists like Archie Shepp, Pharaoh Sanders, Horace Tapscott, Cecil McBee, Alice Coltrane, Don Cherry, Steve Reid, and so many others. So to basically sum it, John Coltrane's music has changed my life and for that, it's nice to put some time aside to help pay tribute to one of the greatest musicians and artists of all-time. Happy Birthday Trane!
John Coltrane - Kulu Sé Mama