Friday, 31 May 2013


I appear to be over Trane-ing  at the moment. And I am benefiting from it immensely.
That private space that I inhabit called Planet Jazz is teaming to the sound of John Coltrane these days; the man himself, Coltrane influenced sounds and sounds simply associated with the great man.

I love the “early” Blue Note works and the Atlantic records are really good. The Impulse albums are a bit of a problem (for me). They are situated either side of a dichotomy; either out of this world – A Love Supreme … or…. I simply don’t “get” them – I know I should like Ascension – but I just don’t.
A painting of St. John Coltrane from the African Orthodox Church
(this dates from the 1970s - but note the spelling of his middle name - nothing is original).

Anyway. There is no getting away from the man’s influence. You’d be hard pushed to find a sax player who doesn’t name check Coltrane as one of the great influences on their art.

I’ve been listening to a couple of Coltrane influenced works recently. Alan Skidmore’s “Impressions Of John Coltrane” which does exactly what it says on the tin. However, I’ve also been listening, again, to a lot of Nat Birchall. A saxophonist whose sound is absolutely steeped in the essence of John Coltrane’s sound at its most spiritual. A wonderful player. I’m only sorry I didn’t come to listening to his stuff until relatively lately.

I’ve also dug out a fair bit of Pharaoh Sanders music lately – perhaps because he’s coming to the Edinburgh Jazz festival (still not got tickets though).

Another disc that’s been giving me a lot of joy lately is from a guy who can’t help the association with John …. His son Ravi.

Got hold of a fantastic “bootleg” of a live recording done at the recent Cheltenham Jazz Festival. Really good quality recording – it must be lifted from a digital radio broadcast.
Must be a heavy, heavy burden to carry.. To be the son of such a significant figure and then to opt to go into the same sphere of business (must be worse if your old boy is literally considered to be a saint, by some). So it’s great credit to Ravi that he’s found his own sound and forged his own place without trading on the family name.
This is “modern” jazz, edging [back] towards mainstream that probably sits closer to the music of the late Michael Brecker than it does to the music of dad.
A great recording of a great concert. One of those occasions when a “live” recording beats a studio album hands down.

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