Night Lights Classic Jazz

A Birth Supreme: John Coltrane

Past and present tributes to the saxophonist, including reflections on the Coltrane church and a heads-up on a Trane-set bargain.

Coltrane

Photo: album art

"Interstellar Space," John Coltrane

John Coltrane was born September 23, 1926 in Hamlet, North Carolina. His birthday is always a special day for me. A few years back, when GRP/Impulse finally got around to issuing his 1961 Village Vanguard recordings in all of their complete and amazing glory, they set a street date of September 23 for the set, I took the day off from work to listen to it. I’ve written a bit before about what Coltrane’s music and story mean to me. He seems to be an artist who inspires a deep sense of personal connection with his listeners. How has he touched your life?

In addition to this week’s John Coltrane Songbook program, which explores other musicians’ interpretations of some of his most classic compositions, you can also check out these shows from the Night Lights archives:

…and some musings I posted last year, inspired by an unusual institution:

On a more earthly and materialistic note, there are a number of brand-spankin’-new, super-cheap copies of Coltrane’s Fearless Leader box-set available online. This is the 6-CD set of his late-1950s leader dates that Concord put out about three years ago, with excellent sound and liner notes by Coltrane biographer Lewis Porter. Lots of Trane with Red Garland here on classic albums like Soultrane and Traneing In. It’s well worth the insane bargain rate at which it’s being listed.

Watch John Coltrane performing A Love Supreme live in 1965:

David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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