What John Coltrane Meant To Me

Today, John Coltrane, would have been 90 years old.  I was notified of this after reading a twitter post by Bill Fletcher, Jr.

John Coltrane's genius was know all over the world.  His unique, beautiful tone on the soprano sax was recognizable immediately by jazz afficionados and the large population of Americans who loved his music.

I was in my late teens when I first discovered his album "A Love Supreme."

It was the `60s, the world was going to hell in Viet Nam and I was draft age and lost in grief for my country and the direction we were headed in those days.  An aspiring classical musician with a highly focus goal of becoming an orchestral player the discovery of Coltrane changed my world forever.

For one thing, I realized that I had to do more with my life than regurgitate music from the 18th and 19th century.  I needed to find deeper ways to express myself.

Sometime, I believe it was the spring of `66 I found my self in Boston at an auditorium at MIT with a full packed audience of bearded, nerdy, students awaiting a concert by John Coltrane.

I remember the opening with Trane playing a solo as beautiful as it was wild, enchanting and free.  I remember seeing his wife Alice pounding the keys of a grand piano.  I don't remember the drummer and bass player but Wikipedia suggests that is was  Sunny Murray and  Rashied Ali on drums with Jimmy Garrison on bass.

In those days Coltrane had an unusual hit recording of "My Favorite Things."  After the introduction that lasted seemingly a half an hour Coltrane's soprano sax broke into the melodious popular tune.  The transition was unexpected and yet somehow a natural musical tranistion.  The audience stood on their feet instantly, applauding with a joyful release of energy.

To this day, the thought of that concert brings on tears.


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