Category: Coltrane, John

Coltrane on Coltrane

johnColtraneToday would have been the great John Coltrane‘s 88th birthday. Besides listening to his indescribable music, here’s a good way to celebrate: a 1960 piece from Downbeat magazine that he wrote in the first person in collaboration with Don DeMicheal. From the interview, Trane on Monk:

Working with Monk brought me close to a musical architect of the highest order. I felt I learned from him in every way—through the senses, theoretically, technically. I would talk to Monk about musical problems, and he would sit at the piano and show me the answers just by playing them. I could watch him play and find out the things I wanted to know. Also, I could see a lot of things that I didn’t know about at all.

Monk was one of the first to show me how to make two or three notes at one time on tenor. (John Glenn, a tenor man in Philly, also showed me how to do this. He can play a triad and move notes inside it—like passing tones!) It’s done by false fingering and adjusting your lip. If everything goes right, you can get triads. Monk just looked at my horn and “felt” the mechanics of what had to be done to get this effect.

I think Monk is one of the true greats of all time. He’s a real musical thinker—there’s not many like him. I feel myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with him. If a guy needs a little spark, a boost, he can just be around Monk, and Monk will give it to him.

Click here to read Coltrane on Coltrane

—Peter Blasevick

Seven Interviews with John Coltrane, the official website of John Coltrane, has seven audio interviews with the legendary tenor saxophonist:

  • by August Blume on June 15, 1958, recorded at Blume’s home in Baltimore, Maryland prior to that evening’s performance of the Miles Davis Quintet (with John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones) at The Crystal Caverns, Washington, D.C.
  • by Dutch jazz historian Michiel de Ruyter November 19, 1961; December 1, 1962; October 26, 1963; and July 27, 1965
  • in Japan recorded by Kaname Kawachi on July 9, 1966. Coltrane comments on many great musicians including his time with Miles Davis
  • with Frank Kofski August 18, 1966. Coltrane discusses the breakup of his classic quartet.

Spiritualism and philosophy as a theme run through all of these interviews as you would expect with Coltrane, even as early as the earliest here in 1958.

Listen to all seven John Coltrane interviews here