coltrane records

Patti Smith - “There’s nobody like Coltrane” 

Interviewer - You speak well and repeatedly in Just Kids of John Coltrane’s records from the ‘60s. Do they possess something that today’s records don’t?

Patti - Well, I feel like Coltrane, of course he was an innovator and invented a whole style and a way of improvisation that we all draw from now. But I think the most interesting thing about Coltrane, besides his tone and his sense of improvisation, was his deep spiritual center. You really felt his relationship with God in his playing.

Patti - You can listen to a virtuoso; you might think, “Wow, that person plays really great.” But Coltrane has a different dimension. He brought God into his playing. I always feel that when I hear him. There’s nobody like Coltrane.

Jazz in the 1960s: A Guide to the Greatest Albums

Jazzwise has bravely and unwisely cobbled together a guide to the greatest jazz albums of the ‘60s. But such lists are made to be contested. I’d vote for Crescent over A Love Supreme, Change Of The Century over Free Jazz and Mingus, Mingus Mingus over Black Saint And Sinner Lady. But so what! What an amazing decade!

-Michael Cuscuna

Read the guide…

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“It was so interesting, when John Coltrane created A Love Supreme. He had meditated that week. I almost didn’t see him downstairs. And it was so quiet! There was no sound, no practice! He was up there meditating, and when he came down he said, “I have a whole new music!” He said, “There is a new recording that I will do, I have it all, everything.” And it was so beautiful! He was like Moses coming down from the mountain. And when he recorded it, he knew everything, everything. He said this was the first time that he had all the music in his head at once to record.“ - Alice Coltrane, pictured with John Coltrane


John Coltrane “Alabama” (1963)

“There is an amazing democracy about death. It is not aristocracy for some of the people, but a democracy for all of the people. Kings die and beggars die; rich men and poor men die; old people die and young people die. Death comes to the innocent and it comes to the guilty. Death is the irreducible common denominator of all men.” 

–Martin Luther King, Jr. from his Eulogy for the Martyred Children, delivered at the funeral service for three of the four children killed at the bombing in Birmingham. Coltrane first recorded this piece a couple of months later.