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A World According to John Coltrane

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A World According to John Coltrane

One of the all times famous Jazz artist named, John Coltrane, a saxophonist and composer, who was one of the first jazz artist in North America for composing a subgenre named “modal jazz.” He was born September 23rd, 1926 in Hamlet, North Carolina, where he was always surrounded with a family, who had a great passion for music. He played the clarinet in high school and learned how to play the saxophone when jazz became popular. John "moved to Philadelphia, where he finished his studies at the Ornstein School of Music and eventually was drafted into the navy in the mid 40's. While he was in at the navy, he then played the alto saxophone with a navy band" (Encyclopedia Britannica). In the late 19402 and "early ‘50s, he played in nightclubs and featured on recording.  The first recorded solo can be is in the Gillespie’s, We love to Boogie"" (Encyclopedia Britannica).

John Coltrane worked with some important jazz history playing artist. One of them was  Miles Davis, whom he was influenced by the most and got a lot of inspiration of modal jazz playing from. Coltrane got hired to work with Miles Davis, a trumpeter, in 1955 after he had returned from Navy and to join his quintet. Eventually, Coltrane got fired twice for failing to give up his addiction to heroin. Miles had a big influence on Coltrane, especially after playing in the Kind of Blues  album. This album was a type of modal jazz was Miles Davis has a new approach to jazz instead of bebop, which was what Charlie Parker had approached (McCarthy). The album Kind of Blues was his first fully explores modal jazz and John Coltrane had learned

 a lot from.  

At times, while, he would play with, Thelonious Monk, as a sideman and he left Davis around the 1960s. Once John had left Davis, he still had a way to project himself right away because of his experience with Miles and Monk, but main because of his love to jazz music. In The World to John Coltrane documentary, one of Coltrane's friend mentioned that, he would always bring a different and unique level of music, where he would try to expand more onto them, making it giving spirituality music.

Some of Coltrane’s achievement was his recordings of Giant Steps, and My Favorite Things Album, which included his modal jazz solo. His classic album; "A Love Supreme, a deeply personal album that reflected his religious commitment"(Augustyn). A Love Supreme and My Favorite Things were the two albums that were awarded into the Grammy Hall of Fame due to their huge praise among critics and acknowledgements of historical significance. In his Giant Steps album, he used a technique called “a sheet of sound”, which means that Coltrane cascaded between the scales quickly.  His best recorded solo album was the Blue Train, a hard bop style (bebop) style of music. Something unique about his music is that he had such a clear transition from one note to the next called “smearing” the note.

Also, in the documentary one of his friends mentioned that John Coltrane had some style that was similar to Charlie Parker. His friend also describes his music as thoughtful and more spiritual, stating “once you start listening to his music, John pulled you to listening to more.” Coltrane’s music is calming and thoughtful, which included extensive patterns to lead his fans to a specific type of psychological mind. From the music that he had listened to at church, he would always confuse some type of music that he had heard before into his music. Once Coltrane started to play his music, he had to start bringing more fans into his style of music, because it was different from the other. So, once his fans started to understand his type of music, they were touched and fell in love with his music has brought more of people to listen to him. He had even contributed spiritual themed to his music like for example, Eastern and African spiritual songs and mainly recommitting to his religious faith.



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