As a professional jazz musician non-musicians often ask me if John Coltrane was a genius. I decided to write this blog post to explain how brilliant John Coltrane really was. I hope you enjoy it!
Yes, John Coltrane was a genius. He singlehandedly changed the genre of jazz music. The level of intricacy in his music is astounding. It is rare when a single artist contributes so much to an art form.
John Coltrane, born in Hamlet, North Carolina, in 1926, was a jazz saxophonist and composer who is considered one of the most important and influential jazz musicians of the 20th century. Coltrane began playing the saxophone at an early age, and by the time he was in high school, he was already performing professionally. After serving in the Navy during World War II, Coltrane returned to the United States and began his professional music career.
In the early years of his career, Coltrane played with a number of prominent jazz musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. He quickly gained a reputation as a skilled and innovative saxophonist, and in 1955 he joined Davis' band as a full-time member. During this time, Coltrane began to develop his own unique style, which was characterized by his fast and fluid playing, and his ability to improvise complex solos.
In the late 1950s, Coltrane began to experiment with different forms of jazz, including modal jazz and free jazz. He also began to incorporate elements of African and Indian music into his compositions. This period of experimentation led to the release of some of Coltrane's most celebrated albums, including "Giant Steps" and "A Love Supreme."
Coltrane's music was not always well received by critics, who found it too experimental and difficult to understand. However, he had a devoted following of fans who appreciated his unique style and innovative approach to jazz.
In the mid-1960s, Coltrane's health began to decline. He was diagnosed with liver cancer and he passed away in 1967, at the age of 40. Despite his relatively short career, Coltrane had a profound influence on jazz and music in general.
"A Love Supreme" is a jazz album recorded in 1964 by John Coltrane and his quartet. It is considered one of the greatest and most influential jazz albums of all time, and it is a defining moment in Coltrane's career.
The album consists of four tracks, each one representing a different aspect of Coltrane's spiritual and musical journey. The first track, "Acknowledgment," is an introduction to the album, with Coltrane reciting a poem he wrote about the spiritual experience that inspired the album. The second track, "Resolution," is a fast-paced, modal tune that showcases Coltrane's virtuosic saxophone playing. The third track, "Pursuance," features a more contemplative and introspective feel, with Coltrane exploring different tonal and harmonic possibilities on the saxophone. The final track, "Psalm," is a reprise of the opening track, with Coltrane reciting the poem again, this time accompanied by the quartet.
The album was recorded in a single session, and the musicians had the freedom to improvise and explore the music. This gives the album a sense of spontaneity and freedom that is evident in Coltrane's playing. The album is a testament to Coltrane's musicianship and his spiritual beliefs, as he was deeply influenced by his study of Buddhism and Hinduism.
"A Love Supreme" was a commercial success upon its release, reaching the top of the Billboard jazz charts, and it has continued to be critically acclaimed over the years, it has been included in several lists of the greatest albums of all time, including Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
The album's influence can be heard in the works of many jazz musicians that came after, including Wayne Shorter, Pharoah Sanders and even some contemporary musicians like Kamasi Washington. It also had an impact on other genres like rock, funk and hip hop, with artists like Carlos Santana, Public Enemy and Kendrick Lamar citing the album as an influence.
"Giant Steps" is an album by jazz saxophonist John Coltrane, released in 1959. The album was a major turning point in Coltrane's career, and it is considered one of the most important and influential jazz albums of all time.
The album features Coltrane on tenor and soprano saxophones, backed by a trio of pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Taylor. The album's title track, "Giant Steps," is widely considered one of Coltrane's most famous compositions, and it is known for its complex harmonic structure and Coltrane's virtuosic saxophone playing. The tune was one of the first examples of a chord progression known as Coltrane changes, which he further developed and expanded in his later works.
The album also features other notable compositions such as "Naima," a beautiful ballad dedicated to his wife, and "Countdown," a fast-paced tune featuring a challenging, virtuosic solo by Coltrane. The album showcases Coltrane's technical abilities, his virtuosity and dexterity on the saxophone and his ability to improvise freely and creatively. If you want to learn more about jazz check out our music lessons in Ann Arbor.
"Giant Steps" was a commercial success upon its release, reaching the top of the Billboard jazz charts and it has been widely acclaimed by critics over the years. It is regarded as a defining moment in Coltrane's career, and it established him as one of the most important and innovative jazz musicians of his time.
The album's influence can be heard in the works of many jazz musicians that came after, including Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, and Michael Brecker. It also had an impact on other genres, and it's influence can be heard in the works of rock, funk and hip hop artists. The album's title track has been covered by many musicians, and it's chord progression is still widely used in jazz education.
"Blue Train" is a jazz album recorded by John Coltrane and his quintet in 1957 and released on the Blue Note label. It is considered one of Coltrane's most significant and acclaimed albums, and it is a defining moment in his career.
The album features Coltrane on tenor saxophone, backed by a quintet consisting of Lee Morgan on trumpet, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Kenny Drew on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums. The album's title track, "Blue Train," is a Coltrane composition that has become one of his most famous and enduring pieces. It's a medium-tempo blues that showcases Coltrane's virtuosic saxophone playing and his ability to improvise freely and creatively.
The album also features other notable compositions such as "Moment's Notice," a fast-paced tune that showcases Coltrane's technical abilities and "Lazy Bird" that highlights his melodic and harmonic sensibility.
"Blue Train" was a commercial success upon its release and it has been widely acclaimed by critics over the years. It is regarded as a defining moment in Coltrane's career and it established him as one of the most important jazz musicians of his time. The album is considered a classic of hard bop, a style that was popular in the 1950s and it's characterized by its strong rhythms, virtuosic improvisation, and sophisticated harmonies.
I hope this article proves to you why John Coltrane was a genius and made a huge impact on jazz. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. I love writing these! :)