This title chronicles the life of jazz legend and visionary John Coltrane, from his humble roots as the son of a tailor in Hamlet, North Carolina, to his ascension to worldwide artistic and popular acclaim, to his untimely death from liver cancer in 1967 at forty-one years of age. Selfridge explores Coltrane's obsessive practice regimen on the saxophone; his musical associations with jazz legends such as Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Thelonius Monk; and his development as a composer, musician, and artist. Coltrane's family life, his fall into alcoholism and heroin addiction, his giant steps to conquer his addictions, and his spiritual and religious growth are also covered. With its beautiful cover painting of Coltrane and many photographs, this handsome volume gives a sound general overview of this important artist's life. The further information section includes books, videos, and Web sites. The title's only shortcoming is that it is sometimes too general. A more in-depth discussion of pre-Coltrane jazz would give readers a greater understanding of and appreciation for why Coltrane and his music were so innovative and groundbreaking. The book also would have benefited from a glossary of important jazz terms and a list of names from the jazz world. Librarians seeking titles on jazz or famous African Americans should consider this title a beneficial addition to their collections. Index. Photos. Further Reading. Time Line. Discography. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M J (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 1999, Franklin Watts, Ages 12 to 15, 96p, $24. Reviewer: William S.Simms
Gr 7 Up-An intriguing, accessible look at the jazz great's life and music, with an introduction by Branford Marsalis that provides a good overview of Coltrane's influence on his peers and on contemporary musicians. In addition to the biographical information, Selfridge provides background information on jazz and a brief critical analysis of his subject's music. The author has a clear and lively writing style that will draw in readers, but the lack of source notes for the numerous quotations and dialogue is troubling. The black-and-white photographs and selected list of Coltrane's recordings add to the book's appeal. The list of material for further information includes videos and Internet sites. John Coltrane fills a gap in the existing literature on jazz for young adults. Despite the lack of documentation, it will be appreciated by jazz fans and students doing reports.-Leah J. Sparks, Bowie Public Library, MD Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.