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Coltrane at 75: the Man and the Myths.
September 23, 2001 11:07 AM   Subscribe

Coltrane at 75: the Man and the Myths. The evolution of the view of John Coltrane as a spiritual figure. Is this a process that happens to any great musician dying at the height of their powers? (NYT link, registration required, blah, blah) Link via the AJList.
posted by pascal (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
The thing that struck me while reading the piece was that I found the tone somehow disrespectful - how dare the writer say he wasn't spiritual. And this despite me being a card-carrying atheist and also someone who doesn't really like Coltrane's work after "A Love Supreme". Is this the Coltrane Ju-Ju at work? Can anyone think of a great musician dying early that didn't create a mythology like this?
posted by pascal at 11:19 AM on September 23, 2001


I think that generally, this ramped up mythology is a byproduct of guarded AND flawed individuals. Miles Davis and Charlie Parker had it, but they were both secretive men with a sense of mystery. Chet Baker would have had the same mythology had he not been completely exposed to the core by the movie "Let's get lost."
posted by machaus at 12:16 PM on September 23, 2001


Only 75? Wow, it really makes you realize how young he was when he died.
posted by jpoulos at 12:55 PM on September 23, 2001


I personally do see Coltrane's work (around the Love Supreme time) as almost mystical in its qualities.

Not in any quasi-religious way, but as an acknowledgement that when he played, he was on 'another level' from any other musician.

34 years on, I still feel there are parts of his solos on "A Love Supreme" that the jazz world are still to comprehend fully.

By their nature, geniuses attract an almost cult-like following, it has to be said. Coltrane, Bird, Monk; they've all had it.

I believe it's not for any spiritual reasons, but purely because their work lets us glimpse another world. A world more exciting than our own.
posted by poncho at 3:17 AM on September 24, 2001


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