Chasing Trane (2016) Netflix Documentary

American jazz saxophonist and composer, John Coltrane, was at the forefront of jazz during the early bebop days. Coltrane grew up in the South during the Jim Crow of the Civil War Era. Growing up in a religious family, Coltrane was inspired by some members who were ministers– very much considering himself spiritual, which shaped his musicality and craft as a musician. Others in the film compared him to the likes of Albert Einstein as Coltrane was a deep thinker also inspired by other deep thinkers. Coltrane began his career performing alongside Miles Davis and his Quartet in his album Kind Of Blue . Coltrane than later produced his own Giant Steps. It was evident that through his performance he enjoyed creating and performing music that brought people together through spiritual consciousness.

Coltrane was gifted in the sense of being “innovative, thinking of what to do next”, grappling with “a sense of struggle and thinking through the next problem”. He performed with no ego, but only to show what was his reason of being there. Coltrane didn’t care what critics had to sway. If they like it, they like it. If they don’t, they don’t. Coltrane’s message was to be brave and no doubt himself in being authentic. He used the saxophone to speak through spiritually even if others didn’t necessarily understand it.

In Bill Clinton’s words in describing Coltrane he states, “any love for music and regard for the craft, you hear 3 or 4 notes, this man owns this horn, this music and at least when he is playing is the master of his soul”. Coltrane as a master of his craft, was never quite satisfied with his own work. Coltrane possessed an intensity in the tone of his sax, a wailing sound, that came from the soul. He was described as quiet, but spiritual in the sense that people would “part from him like the Red Sea”. Coltrane ultimately took jazz forward in experimenting with the music and pushing it to the limit, and it truly showed through his artistry. For all music fanatics and or even aspiring musicians, I would definitely recommend the Netflix film.

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