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Posts tagged ‘John Coltrane’

John Coltrane

I wasn’t able to find much information about “I Want To Talk About You.” I know Billy Eckstine and Ella Fitzgerald both did popular versions of the song but I couldn’t find when it was written or by whom. A You Tube commenter thinks the audio in this video might be from from the “Live In Stockholm, 1963” album. Either way it’s great footage and a beautiful song.

“I Want To Talk About You” is a rather apropos song to play since talking about me is all I seem to do on this blog. I used to at least talk about the guy I like but, even though I still think he’s dreamy, I can’t keep doing that. I haven’t been exactly silent about my crush so I’m pretty sure he knows about it. Given the fact that he hasn’t trotted up to my door on his trusty white steed, I have to assume a romantic dinner for two is not in our future. But because I don’t have any communication with him, I don’t know if my one sided admiration club makes him uncomfortable or not. So rather than find out the answer via restraining order, I shall just keep my mooning to myself. I’m afraid you’re stuck with more endless prattle about me. But hey, at least you get some awesome tunes to go along with it!

Happy Birthday Saint Trane


Today is John Coltrane’s 84th birthday! An interesting fact that I just learned today: the African Orthodox Church beatified him as Saint John William Coltrane. There is a St. John Coltrane curch in San Francisco that I just have to visit some day! Unfortunately the calendar on their website says “Coming Soon” so I have no idea if there are any special events planned for the day. Here is one of my all time favorite songs. It’s a Duke Ellington John Coltrane collaboration and the whole album is gorgeous!

Miles Davis: Not Free But Aged Like A Fine Wine

This is a clip from a concert in Sweden in October 1967. This show and another concert taped in November in Germany were combined to make an album called “Winter in Europe 1967” which was released in 2006. Technically October and November are not winter but I tend to call November “winter” anyway because it’s usually cold enough to count in my book.

The jazz here sounds pretty dang free to me but people on You Tube who seem to know what they’re talking about say the song “Footprints” is actually not free jazz. It’s a 12 bar minor blues. The quintet is simply “playing outside” and leaving the common path of harmonic structure. To that I reply: Blue is my favorite color. There were two versions of the song on the album but this one was not featured. Apparently it’s an outtake. I wish my bloopers sounded this good! I listened to a bit of the album version of this song and it does sound more harmonically structured… I guess. I do know that initially Miles was not a fan of free jazz. I remember reading Miles’ quoted response when he heard what Coltrane was doing but I couldn’t find it again. It was something along the lines of “Are you jiving me?” Whether it’s free or not, it’s still good music.

Nineteen sixty-seven was a very good year.  It wasn’t such a great year for John Coltrane, Jayne Mansfield, or Bert Lahr because they all passed away. It was a great year for Will Ferrell, Pamela Anderson, Julia Roberts, and yours truly because we were all born. I sometimes quip about getting older. The passage of time is now evident in the lines around my mouth and the gnarly Bride of Frankenstein streaks in my hair. The other day, for the first time, I even caught myself holding a package at arms length to try to read the fine print. But honestly, I love the woman that 43 years of living has made me! I am far from ready for my dotage at this point but rest assured, when the time comes, I will make a fabulous little old lady!

One Of Coltrane’s Favorite Things

This video is from a West German TV show filmed on November 24, 1961 in the Sudwestfunk TV studio. The DVD for this one is out of print too but it looks like Amazon has a DVD which includes some of this concert along with footage from the 1965 Antibes Jazz Festival and footage from a San Fransisco concert. I’ll probably get that one because I haven’t stopped playing either of the Coltrane clips since he posted them.

I love “The Sound Of Music.” In fact, I love pretty much everything Julie Andrews ever did. Her “My Favorite Things” is literally one of my favorite things. But Coltrane’s interpretation takes it to a whole new level that has absolutely nothing to do with singing Austrian moppets. I can only imagine what sort of magic he might have wrought if he’d ever gotten ahold of one of the Kristy McNichol/Christopher Atkins duets from 1982’s “The Pirate Movie.”

A Very Special Episode Of Jazz Casual

For some reason, the words “a very special episode” are inextricably linked with mental images of a drunken Scott Baio in my adolescent hindbrain. Perhaps this marvelous clip will finally dislodge the nightmarish visions. “Afro Blue” was composed by Mongo Santamaria in 1959 with lyrics by Oscar Brown Jr. It’s been recorded many times but Coltrane’s version is the most famous.

The show “Jazz Casual” ran on the NET network from 1960 to 1968. The complete series used to be available on DVD but it’s out of print now and you can’t even get used copies on Amazon or eBay. That’s a shame because I’d love to see it!  Ah well, at least there are You Tube clips and if I keep watching the net long enough I’m sure a set will turn up.

Coltrane and My Puppy Love

“Too Young was written by Jimmy McHugh in 1955. It was quite a popular tune that was recorded by many of the top vocalists in the 50’s. In 1959 it also inspired a short lived TV sitcom with the same title. The John Coltrane Quartet version appears on the 1962 album “Ballads.” The vocal version of the song is fraught with 1950’s adolescent angst but I find the Trane version cool and soothing. Of course it could just be the suggestion of the images in the video I found. Judge for yourself!

My own sweet puppy love is a fuzzy white four legged girl called Eloise. She came home in ‘07 about six months after we lost our kitty Obsidian. I wasn’t completely convinced I was ready for a new pet at the time but we were feeling a bit lonesome for animal company so I figured it was at least time to start looking. So one Saturday I loaded my daughter into the car and we went to the pound to start our search for the right animal for our home. I didn’t take a leash or a pet carrier or anything because I KNEW we were just looking! We looked at the cats but comparison was inevitable so that didn’t work out. Then we looked at the dogs. A sweet mellow American Bulldog caught my eye so, on a lark, I asked if we could see her in the visiting room. They brought her in and my daughter immediately got on the floor and put her arms around the dog’s neck. The dog nuzzled her back. Then both of them looked up at me with soulful brown eyes. Then the heart string tugging reached Shirley Tempelian proportions when my girl asked “Mommy, can the doggie have a ‘doption just like me?” At that moment a million reasons why it’s a TERRIBLE idea to adopt a dog on impulse flew out the window. After a quick trip to the nearest PetSmart for supplies, Eloise came home with us that day and we’ve been a happy all girl trio ever since!

Miles and the Melting Properties of Music

“Teo” is from the 1961 album “Someday My Prince Will Come” and it’s written in honor of Miles’ friend and producer Teo Macero. I listened to an interview Teo gave about working with Miles. You could hear the love as he talked about his quirky but gifted friend. Coltrane is featured in two songs on this album. This one and the title track. It was the last time the two men recorded together.

My friend says Coltrane’s face melting solo in this song predates mug melting electric guitar solos. With chest puffed out, gut sucked in, and arms akimbo I cry my haughtiest “No way!” Clearly my friend does not listen to the blues! Why, B.B. King’s electric guitar solos could give whole audiences the jowly cheeked basset hound look by ‘56.  He was easily melting faces Raiders Of The Lost Ark style by ‘61. There are many artists who predate King by decades whose guitar licks could melt people from the knees up! Go to any blues festival and you’ll see that most of the audience is held together with duct tape and Spackle. I’ve a good mind to go to Twitter and write that man a scathing 140 character rebuttal for having a different opinion than mine! I’m not going to do it. I’m just saying I’ve got a good mind for it is all.

Coltrane At The Village Vanguard

“Live At The Village Vanguard” contains the first recordings of Coltrane’s experimentation with free jazz. The original full length LP contained only three songs. One side was devoted to “Chasin’ The Trane” which is 15 minutes long and is widely considered one of his most important recordings. The other side has two songs, one called “Spiritual” and the other “Softly As In A Morning Sunrise” which I’ve played on the thread before (I think). I took this video from the 1997 “The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings”. I’ve already played the shortest song on the original album and neither of the other two songs fit in single a YouTube video. So we’re going with this cool version of “Greensleeves” from the ‘97 box set.

The Village Vanguard club is still there! Unlike Birdland it’s been continuously open at the same address for nearly 75 years now. Performers say the building’s triangular shape makes for amazing acoustics and the creative energy of the spirits who have passed through that place must be amazing.  When I get to New York one day I am so there! I have no jazz loving friends IRL. I have no choice but to either drag a reluctant country music fan or wait for hijack one of my internet jazz friends. I just hope no one minds sippin’ Roy Rogers with me while I attempt to dampen my fan girl giddiness about the ghosts of jazz greats past.

Coltrane On Mulholland

Train of thought I won’t be pursuing in this post: Addiction destroys lives and that’s a fact. Still I can’t help but wonder if jazz music, or music in general for that matter, would be as amazing without drugs.

I chose Coltrane’s version of “My Favorite Things” from the 1961 album of the same name. Why? I listened to an interview a comedian I like gave last night on internet radio where he said the movie “Mary Poppins” had a huge impact on him when he was a kid. “Mary Poppins” is one of my all time favorite musicals (yes, I do say that a lot). “My Favorite Things” is from “Sound Of Music” but they’re both great Julie Andrews flicks so I figure, close enough! It’s also a great live video with terrific solos by Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, and Eric Dolphy.

A friend of mine likes to hike Mulholland while listening to Coltrane. I wonder where the heck he hikes on Mulholland and still lives to tell the tale. The Mulholland Drive I know is a busy road. It’s twisty and really narrow in spots and people drive it like maniacs. The views are spectacular and the make out spots plentiful but you wouldn’t catch me up there on foot! Of course, it is a long road so there could very well be safe places to walk that I either never saw or don’t remember. Or maybe his middle name is “Danger” so likes his walks on the wild side.

John Coltrane

Coltrane is yet another gifted artist who left us too soon. He recorded “A Love Supreme” in 1965 just two years before his untimely death from liver cancer. It has been called one of the greatest jazz albums of all time and it is also considered Coltrane’s finest work. The album is divided into four movements, “Acknowlegement,” “Resolution,” “Pursuance,” and “Psalm.” The movements are meant as a spiritual expression of gratitude to a higher power.

The video I chose is a live performance of the first movement “Acknowlegement.” Like yesterday’s video, it’s not the whole song but most of it is there. I like it because I can see the passion on Coltrane’s face as he plays.

As I wrote yesterday, we were expecting a pretty big snow storm here today. Fortunately our raging blizzard turned out to be more of a slightly petulant flurry but we did get enough to make the roads slick and annoying. I drive an ancient Toyota called Sulu. If you know Toyotas you know the minute there’s any hint of moisture in the forecast they completely lose all traction. On snow days we navigate by committee. I am welcome to make suggestions but Sulu has the final vote on the direction we take. I think Sulu is finally beginning to trust me because today several of my brake, accelerator, and steering wheel suggestions were not only heard but actually implemented! I doubt I’ll ever be promoted to the captain’s chair for snow day driving, but with a little luck, maybe I won’t end up like one of the guys in the red shirts.

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