Coltrane on Coltrane: The John Coltrane Interviews

Coltrane on Coltrane: The John Coltrane Interviews

by Chris DeVito
     
 

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Named one of the best jazz books of 2010 by Jazz Times’s reader poll

John Coltrane created a new sound, a music that had nothing to do with anyone except himself. The path he chose was difficult and risky. Nevertheless, he persisted, and his recordings now stand among the greatest of all jazz achievements. And his life, thoughts, and words

Overview

Named one of the best jazz books of 2010 by Jazz Times’s reader poll

John Coltrane created a new sound, a music that had nothing to do with anyone except himself. The path he chose was difficult and risky. Nevertheless, he persisted, and his recordings now stand among the greatest of all jazz achievements. And his life, thoughts, and words have been just as inspiring as his music. This book collects those words for the first time.

Coltrane was a gracious and conscientious interviewee. His responses were thoughtful and measured; he rarely said anything negative about others (though he could be highly self-critical). He freely gave credit to those who influenced and inspired him. Interviewer after interviewer noted how different Coltrane seemed from his music—this quiet man whose music was so volcanic.

Coltrane on Coltrane includes every known Coltrane interview, many in new transcriptions, and several previously unpublished; articles, reminiscences, and liner notes that rely on interviews; and some of Coltrane’s personal writings and correspondence.

John Coltrane never wrote an autobiography. This book is as close to one as possible.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fascinating and important compendium of the jazz icon's own words. . . . Through these gripping and revealing interviews, Coltrane comes alive. . . . Though many solid books have been written about Coltrane, this compilation of source materials provides an intimate view of the man and his music. Certainly one of the best music books of the year."  —Library Journal

“The type of book that should be compiled on every great musician. It is an inspired concept that is perfectly done.”  —Los Angeles Jazz Scene

"From start to finish, it's nothing short of engrossing."  —Smooth magazine

“There’s plenty for a serious jazz fan to absorb from this interesting collection. . . . Coltrane’s own words about his music and life deserve our attention.”  —JazzTimes.com

Publishers Weekly
Born on September 23, 1926, in Hamlet, N.C., John Coltrane came from a musical family. His father played the violin and ukulele as a hobby, and his mother, who wanted to become a concert singer, played the piano and sang in the church choir. He didn't study music seriously until after high school; after a brief stint in the navy in 1945-1946, where he played with the navy band, he was soon playing tenor and alto sax and clarinet in a band that included Eddie Vinson, Red Garland, and Johnny Coles; he joined Dizzy Gillespie's band and by the mid-1950s was playing with Miles Davis before embarking on his own storied career. Although this collection of interviews--some of them published for the first time--is repetitious, DeVito's (The John Coltrane Reference) volume at least lets Coltrane tell his own story in his own words. The highlight of the entire collection comes from a 1966 Newsweek article in which Coltrane declares: "My goal is to live the truly religious life and express it in my music. My music is the spiritual expression of what I am--my faith, my knowledge, my being." (Sept.)
Library Journal
DeVito, coauthor of the award-winning discography/chronology/commentary The John Coltrane Reference, expands upon his previous work with this fascinating and important compendium of the jazz icon's own words. He comprehensively compiles all the known interviews of Coltrane, some familiar and others previously unpublished or published only in French, Japanese, or British journals. He also includes articles and liner notes that quote the tenor sax giant extensively, a few of Coltrane's personal writings, and reminiscences from a childhood friend. He arranges the material in chronological order, allowing readers to see clearly the evolution of Coltrane's music from his chordal sheets of sound to his modal period to his free explorations. Through these gripping and revealing interviews, Coltrane comes alive as a serious, compulsive innovator who desperately wanted to communicate his philosophical underpinnings and feelings to his audience.Verdict Though many solid books have been written about Coltrane—from J.C. Thomas's Chasin' the Trane (1975) to Ben Ratliff's recent Coltrane—this compilation of source materials provides an intimate view of the man and his music. Certainly one of the best music books of the year.—Dave Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781556520044
Publisher:
Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
04/01/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
742,178
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.84(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

"A fascinating and important compendium of the jazz icon's own words. . . . Through these gripping and revealing interviews, Coltrane comes alive. . . . Though many solid books have been written about Coltrane, this compilation of source materials provides an intimate view of the man and his music. Certainly one of the best music books of the year."  —Library Journal

“The type of book that should be compiled on every great musician. It is an inspired concept that is perfectly done.”  —Los Angeles Jazz Scene

"From start to finish, it's nothing short of engrossing."  —Smooth magazine

“There’s plenty for a serious jazz fan to absorb from this interesting collection. . . . Coltrane’s own words about his music and life deserve our attention.”  —JazzTimes.com

Meet the Author

Chris DeVito is a freelance writer, a copy editor, and the lead author of The John Coltrane Reference, which was named the BBC's jazz book of the year in 2008. He lives in Urbana, Illinois.

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