Modal Jazz Musician John Coltrane's Influence On Jazz

562 words - 3 pages

On John ColtraneJohn Coltrane was born on 23 September 1926 in Hamlet, North Carolina. It is highly unlikely that on this day the world realized what greatness had entered their presence. In 1943, Coltrane - or "Trane" as he was affectionately called - moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where his love of music reached new heights. In 1945 he was enlisted into the Navy (his term ended sometime in 1926) where he headed a popular Navy band. In 1949 he was asked to join Dizzy Gillespie's big band (where he would play the Alto Saxophone). In April of 1951 John Coltrane returned to Philadelphia for school. It would not be a stretch to say that John Coltrane was one of the most influential artists of the past 35 years as well as ...view middle of the document...

"My Favorite Things" still remains Coltrane's signature album. This composition uses a simple modal scale as the backdrop.John Coltrane's music also had a political and spiritual aspect to it. This is quite evident from his tribute to the victims of the Sunday morning church bombing in Birmingham in 1963, "Alabama." Coltrane also directed his spiritual/religious dedication into his making of "A Love Supreme," which he recorded with such greats as Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison, and McCoy Tynor. "A Love Supreme" is considered to be a masterpiece as well as a summation. Cotlrane's final album was "Expression." It was in this album that he played the flute whilst Pharaoh Sanders played the piccolo.The technical advances in Coltrane's playing became obvious. When he rejoined Miles Davis, John Coltrane used a similar technique, but the two men explored the possibility of improvising over a modal background. When he left to lead his own quartet, John continued with this approach, initially playing harmonically-dense compositions such as his "Giant Steps."John displayed in his playing a spectacular technical brilliance as well as emotion and eventually a type of mysticism (prevalent among his later albums such as "Expression"). Coltrane's style was influenced by the rhythms of both African and Asian music. These influences could be heard in many of his songs, and among his modal-jazz classics.Coltrane died of liver failure at the age of forty on 17 June, 1967. At the time of his death he was still misunderstood and under-appreciated. Now, a little under thirty years after his death, we are barely beginning to unlock, understand, and appreciate the music of Jazz-legend John Coltrane.


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