The John Coltrane Reference

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The BBC's Jazz Book of the Year for 2008.

Few jazz musicians have had the lasting influence or attracted as much scholarly study as John Coltrane. Yet, despite dozens of books, hundreds of articles, and his own recorded legacy, the "facts" about Coltrane's life and work have never been definitely established. Well-known Coltrane biographer and jazz educator Lewis Porter has assembled an international team of scholars to write The John Coltrane Reference, an indispensable guide to the life and music of John Coltrane.

The John Coltrane Reference features a a day-by-day chronology, which extends from 1926-1967, detailing Coltrane's early years and every live performance given by Coltrane as either a sideman or leader, and a discography offering full session information from the first year of recordings, 1946, to the last, 1967. The appendices list every film and television appearance, as well as every recorded interview. Richly illustrated with over 250 album covers and photos from the collection of Yasuhiro Fujioka, The John Coltrane Reference will find a place in every major library supporting a jazz studies program, as well as John Coltrane enthusiasts.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The intensity and accuracy of the scholarship in this monumental effort cannot be praised enough ... To give Coltrane his due in book form is to be as painstaking in researching as Coltrane was in practicing. This book honors its subject through such exercise of care." -

"This opus is clearly the culmination of decades of dedicated and diligent resesarch and is wholly worthy of its illustrious subject. No serious collector of jazz literature can afford to be without it." - Bob Weir, Names & Numbers

The Barnes & Noble Review
He lived only to the age of 40, accomplishing the lion's share of his important work in a mere 12-year stretch, from 1955 to 1967. Yet, as with other musical geniuses -- from Mozart to Hendrix -- whose brief life spans belie their immense legacies, saxophonist John Coltrane left us indelible musical blueprints that jazz improvisers and modern composers are still reckoning with. With a career so brief yet so consequential, it's little wonder that the desire to account for as much of Coltrane's artistic existence is as pressing as it is. Responding to this need, The John Coltrane Reference offers an 848-page chronology of the when, where, and why of the jazz giant's musical life. Every live performance and recording from 1945 on is accounted for, fleshed out with as much information as could be drawn from contemporary publications and firsthand research. It's an exhaustive resource that will enthrall musicologists and jazz nerds alike, and -- if they aren't put off by the book's daunting heft -- any lucky listener who's been drawn into the ever-expanding beauty of Coltrane's sound world. Taking note of just how often a young Coltrane played with the band of star Ellington soloist Johnny Hodges, or his dues-paying stints with such forgotten acts as Gay Crosse and His Good Humor Six and Harry Polk and the Five Polka Dots, or finding out the exact day the 19-year-old saxophonist met Charlie Parker (and, subsequently, each time they shared a stage), not to mention the details of Coltrane's star-making membership in the bands of Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, and then his own groundbreaking ensembles, greatly expands our comprehension of a truncated yet momentous career. --Steve Futterman
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415977555
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/20/2007
  • Pages: 844
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 2.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Lewis Porter is Professor of Music at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, where he directs the Masters Program in Jazz History and Research. He is a well known author and jazz pianist.

Chris DeVito is a freelance writer and copy editor, and author of a published short story, "Notespinning."

Yasuhiro Fujioka is a freelance jazz writer, producer, and photographer who regularly contributes to Swing Journal and other magazines.

Wolf Schmaler has assisted Yasuhiro Fujioka since 1989 in Coltrane research.

David Wild has authored influential discographies of Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, written liner notes to many recordings on the Impulse! label, and has published in Down Beat, Coda, Cadence, Signal To Noise, and the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz.

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Table of Contents

How to Use This Book Using The Chronology Using The Discography Updates Symbols and Abbreviations Chronology: 1926-1967: Epilogue Discography: 1946-1967: Epilogue: Coltrane's Funeral Alice Coltrane Session Using John Coltrane's Voice Appendix A: Film and TV Appearances Appendix B: Recorded Interviews

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