I recently finished reading a book that H got me for my birthday last year. Coltrane on Coltrane. It’s a collection of interviews conducted with Coltrane, interspersed with a few letters he wrote, some essays about Coltrane, and a few interviews with others about Coltrane. In short, it kicked my ass.

What’s remarkable to me, is that back in the day, as early as the late 50’s, people were already commenting on his, “angry tone.” The violence and frustration expressed in his playing and by his playing. And shortly thereafter his supposed “antijazz”-ness. It’s hard to imagine a time when this music was considered controversial. When the tone of his saxophone was considered a threat. When his music was considered to be strictly angry and violent. When I listen to him, I hear joy. Not that his music doesn’t travel the darker emotional spectrum – anger, sorrow, frustration, etc. But, what I hear, and have always heard, since I got into him, is a joy of life. A joy to be playing, to be expressing himself and his life experience through music. A joy to be communicating with other musicians, audience members, his loved ones, with his music. That’s what I’ve always heard. Continue reading “coltrane”