Friday, October 28

Cuttings 32 - John Coltrane

I went to a talk called 'Jazz, Racism and Resistence' which mainly focused on John Coltrane and his music, in relation to the politics of the civil rights movement. Some points rung true -

'Martin Luther King used elements of gospel to reach out to people and carry out a message - hardbop (soul-jazz) wanted to do the same, using elements of gospel in jazz music.' ...I never realised gospel would form such a theme in my research!! But there is something undeniably potent and influencial about that mix of music and religion - black music and religion.

'Coltrane's music articulate back pride and the rage of the time in a codified way - because it was dangerous to do so openly' ...instrumental music, especially, is a sort of political haven in that way - you can 'say' whatever you want - which is crucial in a time when opinions can be life-threatening. And I just think that when you want to communicate something so strong it must take the music to a new level - which, in Coltrane's case, it did.

The Coltrane tune 'Alabama' works on the idea of capturing the spirit of a Martin Luther King speech through music. I think this is an amazing idea.