Tag Archives: John Coltrane

Dan’s Sax Advent Calendar #24 – John Coltrane

We’ve come to the final day of our Sax Advent Calendar, day 24 and it could be no other person but John Coltrane.

John Coltrane was born on 23rd September 1926 in Hamlet, North Carolina.  He grew up in Philadelphia and made his name alongside Miles Davis, before becoming a superstar in his own right.  Coltrane, like Charlie Parker has influenced every saxophonist who has come after them, be it in jazz or classical music.

As his career progressed, Coltrane and his music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. Coltrane influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant saxophonists in music history. He received many posthumous awards and recognitions, including canonization by the African Orthodox Church as Saint John William Coltrane and a special Pulitzer Prize in 2007.[2] His second wife was pianist Alice Coltrane and their son, Ravi Coltrane, is also a saxophonist.

 

A Love Supreme by John Coltrane

Fifty years ago on Wednesday, 9th December 1964, John Coltrane took a trip from his home in Long Island NY to Hackensack, the home and studio of Rudy Van Gelder.

Along with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums, there he recorded one of the most important musical suites in history. If you haven’t heard it yet, BUY IT TODAY!

Seriously, if you play the saxophone you should have this in your collection, even if you don’t ‘like’ jazz. This album influenced Hendrix, The Beatles, U2, every jazz musician of the last 40 years and even many classical players.

I’d also advise checking out Branford Marsalis’ version record live in Amsterdam for the 40th anniversary …

 

Also, watch this programme by the BBC, again from 2004.

As Coltrane biographer Lewis Porter says, ‘There are obsessive fans of Elvis Presley, but nobody has founded a CHURCH like they have for John Coltrane!’

The work has influenced me personally a great deal and I took my 3rd year thesis studying A Love Supreme at collegeand I’ve performed it a number of times, including here….


Joshua Redman, Ravi Coltrane, Ashley Kahn and others took part in a symposium reflecting on A Love Supreme, which you can listen to here.

So this week your ‘lesson’ is to either listen to this great album for the first time, or get deeper into what Coltrane was expressing through his music.

‘It is indeed A Love Supreme’

Dan Performs John Coltrane’s ‘Dear Lord’

As a teacher I feel it’s important to be an active musician. Richard Morgan, a good friend who also plays drums in my band, has a great saying: ‘You wouldn’t trust a fat PE teacher.’ That certainly applies to music – you need to be able to do the things you’re asking others to do!