Happy 85th Birthday John Coltrane – A Love Supreme

A photograph of the icon of John Coltrane at t...
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Today, Friday September 23, 2011, we celebrate the 85th Birthday of John Coltrane.

As a Sirius/XM subscriber and rabid jazz music fan, I am enthralled that Sirius XM is offering a four-day music tribute to John Coltrane. It’s sympatico that Carlos Santana is hosting this event. Carlos Santana is a subject matter authority on Coltrane. He is directly responsible for expanding my field of vision for  John Coltrane’s music. I welcome the further education of gaining valuable insights from Carlos Santana, Cindy Blackman-Santana, Ravi Coltrane and others during the width of this broadcast.

I have attended 16 Santana concerts and it never fails to touch my spiritual core when the Santana Band performs, “A Love Supreme”.  I lift my arms in praise of God during the chanting of this hymn. It is a magnificent way to thank God for the gifts of spirituality and healing power of music channeled by John Coltrane and Santana.

I highly recommend the book A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album by Ashley Kahn. It is the definitive work about jazz’s most definitive recording.

If you study the book site Web link closely you will see that there was an event at Joe’s Pub in NY City on November 12, 2002 which was a tribute to the reissue of the Deluxe Edition of A Love Supreme. We attended that event and I was very honored to meet Alice Coltrane, Ravi Coltrane and Ashley Kahn that evening.

I felt the most wonderful spiritual vibe when I shook Alice Coltrane’s outstretched hand backstage. She had not seen the CD packaging before I asked her to sign it for me. She was so pleased to have a physical copy as she shared it happily with her family and friends. Then she asked me, “May I borrow your silver pen to sign other autographs? I said, “Certainly, Alice”. She made a special point of saying to me, “Do come back for it in a little while.” Which I did. Her smile was so radiant, I still beam thinking of her aura.

Carlos Santana Hosts John Coltrane Radio

John ColtraneIn celebration of the legendary jazz saxophonist and composer’s 85th birthday, John Coltrane Radio airs on Real Jazz from Thursday, September 22, the day before Coltrane’s 85th birthday, at 9 am ET through Sunday, September 25 on channel 67.
John Coltrane Radio will be hosted by Grammy® Award-winning musician and Coltrane aficionado, Carlos Santana, as well as his wife, musician Cindy Blackman-Santana and Coltrane’s son, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, featuring the music spanning the jazz legend’s career, including his over 100 albums, performances and music from his years playing with Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk.
The channel features performances by the Asian-American Jazz Orchestra and Devin Philips recorded at the Portland Jazz Festival, as well as a special tribute performance by Roy Haynes and His Fountain of Youth Band recorded at the SiriusXM studios in New York. Additionally, you’ll hear musicians such as Roy Haynes, Hugh Masekela and Stanley Clarke and share personal stories and memories about Coltrane.
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Jim Marshall – Pocket Cash – Morrison Hotel Gallery

I really miss the late photographer Jim Marshall. I was very affected by his death. We never met in person but I knew of him through his photographic lens. The first photograph of Jim Marshall that caught my eye was of James Marshall Hendrix at Monterey Pop in 1967.  I recall opening Rolling Stone then the newspaper and seeing this photograph speak so powerfully to me.

Photo by Jim Marshall

Throughout the decades more and more of Jim Marshall’s photographs became ingrained in my consciousness. Eventually I began to own autographed copies of his music photography books so I could hold and study his photographic art at close range.

First I purchased Proof, through Wolfgang’s Vault. It was a tremendous study of Jim Marshall’s camera proofs that spoke to me in intimate detail. I later saw his real proofs displayed at the John Varvatos Store in Las Vegas on the walls of the clothier.

Next I bought Jazz, which increased my knowledge of the great jazz artists I had wanted to meet through Jim’s friendship and trust with these great musicians. My favorite photograph in that book was the picture of Allen Ginsberg looking at Thelonious Monk in magical awe and wonder. I once met Allen Ginsberg in person at the University of New Haven (but that’s another story for another day).

Photograph by Jim Marshall

I last bought Jim Marshall’s Trust through The Morrison Hotel Gallery on Prince Street in SoHo, New York City. That book spoke to me the deepest as I learned about how Jim Marshall earned the trust of each artist he photographed.

We had planned to go to see Jim Marshall at the original Pocket Cash event at The Morrison Hotel Gallery but God had other plans for our photographer of the stars.

We were just acknowledged of the Pocket Cash Apple Store and Morrison Hotel Gallery event in New York City on Thursday March 24th, 2011. We’re going to do all we can to attend both events.

Charles Lloyd New Quartet @Wesleyan University Review

Rosemary and I spent a memorable evening in Middletown, Connecticut last night enjoying ourselves as patrons of the arts. First we savored a superb dinner at Tuscany Grill on College Street. The pan seared scallops over angel hair pasta served in a spicy but oh so tasty sauce was exquisite. We highly recommend this two-floor Italian restaurant. The service was impeccable. We sat upstairs in the restaurant, overlooking the bar, directly across from the high-definition TV screens mounted on the opposite side wall. CNN was broadcasting special coverage of the breaking developments in Egypt which continued to be unsettling. Change is going to come, but what will it mean for the rest of our planet in terms of next-level co-existence?

We finished our meal quickly to get to the Wesleyan University Crowell Concert Hall to hear a pre-concert talk by Sarah Politz. We got a little lost trying to find the building so we missed Sarah’s presentation. 🙁 I wonder if Sarah has slides available and how I might contact her about that information? (I’m open to suggestions…)

The Wesleyan University Center for the Arts eleven-building complex houses classroom and studio facilities in support of arts programs at the university. The CFA Spring 2011 calendar offers a comprehensive choice of  leading, innovative world music performers. Anthony Braxton, noted American composer and jazz musician is a Professor of Music in the Wesleyan Music Department.

The Crowell Concert Hall is an architectural wonder with a breathtaking interior design. The stage is all housed in wood with creative textures of multi-tiered roofs that jut out at different angles. The acoustics of this 400+ seat venue are aesthetically pleasing. This was the perfect venue for the Charles Lloyd New Quartet. I felt like we had lifted and placed into the music setting that served as the backdrop for the ECM live Charles Lloyd Quartet recording Rabo de Nube.

I was finally getting to witness Charles Lloyd after many decades of  silently desiring to see him perform live. Charles Lloyd has a spirituality and presence that is very commanding yet humble. He plays the sweetest saxophone I have ever heard. His sax was constructed of soft white gold. His energy was amazing as he drew us in from the first breath.

Charles Lloyd is magical to watch. His phrasing on the sax captures your senses. He accents his saxophone playing with sweet melodic verse contrasted by spiritual meditation of the highest order. I would have to say he creates a church that effectively communicates each person’s sense of self-worship and faith. I truly loved watching him perform as he lifted his leg and knee to further accent the notes. He is a band leader who delegates telepathically and the quartet responds with instinctual punctuality.

Charles Lloyd is complemented by three super talented jazz musicians. Jason Moran on piano has the touch of the keys on the Steinway that mesmerize your senses. My wife and I have seen Jason play before with his bandwagon at Long Wharf  Theater in New Haven, where he did a recreation of Thelonious Monk‘s famous 1959 Town Hall Concert complete with black and white vintage 35mm footage. He made Charles Lloyd smile several times when he improvised or stretched out on his piano solos.

Charles Lloyd offered a varied music program.  His execution of “tenderness sutras” wove rich tapestries of the heart within us. He invited Jason Moran’s wife, Alicia Hall Moran, who is an extraordinary mezzo-soprano vocalist to accompany their version of “Go Down Moses”. Alicia’s operatic voice added a beautiful, haunting accent to the American Negro spiritual. What really struck me was the irony of hearing this song’s lyrics in light of the revolution of change happening in Egypt at the same moment in time as they played. History repeating history…

 

When Israel was in Egypt’s land: Let my people go,
Oppress’d so hard they could not stand, Let my People go.

Go down, Moses,
Way down in Egypt land,
Tell old Pharaoh,
Let my people go.

Charles Lloyd, tenor and alto saxophone, flute

Jason Moran, piano

Reuben Rogers, double-bass

Eric Harland, drums and percussion

Alicia Hall Moran, mezzo soprano

The New Charles Lloyd Quartet also features Reuben Rogers on stand up double bass. He was very relaxed in his role yet his ability to slap the notes or strum the strings earned your immediate respect.  I especially loved how into his distance he would go. taking us on that journey with him. His double bass I think was made of deep cherry red wood and it produced an eloquent resonance.

Eric Harland blew me away with his inventive drumming style. His technique and sensibilities captivated my attention as soon as he started at his drum kit. He would rest a folded over tambourine on the high hat or use the sets of bells he had on draped on either side of his drums. He had a really cool way of using his drum sticks to accent the music. He would drag the tip of the drum stick across the cymbal top at just the right point in the selection. He was never overpowering when he drummed but you paid strict attention to his drum shots and rolls as they were all very unique

Charles Lloyd made time after the concert to meet with fans and sign autographs. I was thrilled to meet him. He signed my concert program and the CD cover of his latest CD, which we heard a few songs from that night, The Mirror . I thanked him for his healing music. He folded his hands in prayer and bowed ever so slightly. I left his company elated and reassured being in his spiritual presence.