Music is nature's language. What it is telling you is to shut up for once and listen.
Sometimes it is easy to put the finger on that magic talent someone has and say, here, this is what made him great. It was the soul, it is the beautiful melodies, it is the innovative rhythm. Sometimes it is easy. John Coltrane is anything but easy.
You cant sell news stories that have data and cautious predictions. Where is the panic? Where is the impending doom? C'mon people , give me something to work with here…
I have no idea what makes john Coltrane john Coltrane. Sometimes it is easy to put the finger on that magic talent someone has and say, here, this is what made him great. It was the soul, it is the beautiful melodies, it is the innovative rhythm. Sometimes it is easy. John Coltrane is anything but easy.
I think I was first awakened to musical exploration by Dizzy Gillespie and Bird. It was through their work that I began to learn about musical structures and the more theoretical aspects of music."
The thing about Coltrane is not how to explain his success, for that is obvious, he is a great player and a great musician and came into the public awareness in the right place in the right time.
But success is a relatively common thing. Well, not a common thing, I will give you that, but there are a lot of very successful musicians that made their fame and fortune round about the same period as Coltrane, and I don’t really see them having churches built for them.
I can't really imagine a Miles Davis church, not even a Satchmo church. I can see a Charlie Mingus church but the cross would be hanging upside down there…so what did Coltrane do that made him worthy of his own church? Not a rhetorical question, I am really asking. I want my own church too…
(spiritual awakening) lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music.”
Maybe he was really enlightened, I don’t know. The whole church thing sounds a bit, well, just the original name "One Mind Temple Evolutionary Transitional Body of Christ." Makes me shift in uneasy secular discomfort in my chair. Where is my crystal? I need to clean the air , maybe an incense or two.
It is a nice story, how the couple who started the church had what they called a 'baptism of music' in his concert in 1965. Personally I think it was second hand smoke.
Don't get me wrong , baptism of music sounds great. And I do believe in music as the highest spiritual language. I just don’t believe in baptisms. Or in 'saints'. And john , saint john, was declared as a saint. Well, not by the 'real' church, but still.
He was definitely one of the more spiritual musicians of the twentieth century, both by inclination and as a scholar, having gone through the usual self exploration of comparative theology studying different belief systems ,and more important doing that without white robes, beads or the usual annoying mambo jumbo chatter.
All a musician can do is to get closer to the sources of nature, and so feel that he is in communion with the natural laws."
His work , not as a saint , but as a musician is truly incredible, and the development of his style, his compositions and his playing is notable and evident , learning from the old masters and influencing the new generations. He was indeed inspirational with a capital I , I will give him that.
I thought about this question. I answered it as best I could . I felt I didn't tell the reporter what I really wanted to say.
He thought I was Christian. And I am by birth; my parents were and my early teachings were Christian. But as I look upon the world, I feel all men know the truth. If a man was a Christian, he could know the truth and he could not.
The truth itself does not have any name on it. And each man has to find it for himself, I think."
Every time I put on a Coltrane album, or even go back in time to just one specific piece I feel like listening to at that specific moment, I am in awe. Not religious one, musical one. Same as Miles Davis. And usually I try to pick a piece when they play together for a spiritual stereo delight.
Coltrane is Coltrane. Deep, sophisticated, simple, soulful, soft, sharp, accurate, wandering all over the place, beautiful, and most important of all, john Coltrane.
I don’t know about sainthood, and if I had to choose one church from all the possible churches down here I would probably choose his, but I do know good music. and I do love good music. and I do love Coltrane. Amen.