John Coltrane – The World According To John Coltrane (2010)

by | May 25, 2010 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

John Coltrane – The World According To John Coltrane (2010)

Masters Of American Music Series
Studio: EuroArts 2057108 [Distrib. by Naxos]
Video: 4:3 B&W and Color
Audio: English PCM mono
Subtitles: German, French
All Regions
Length: 59 minutes
Rating: ****

The legacy of John Coltrane is gigantic, and not necessarily a simple concept to grasp.  Not just a virtuoso musician, Coltrane stands as a true visionary in his field. This documentary produced in cooperation with his wife, Alice Coltrane, carefully examines his religious roots in defining his development as a musician and spiritual being. These two sides of his artistic vision would elevate his work and life in a profound manner.
Inspired by his early involvement in church, Coltrane’s work would evolve beyond the realm of music into an exhaustive search for the pure spirituality of man. Equally influenced by the meditative and passionate Middle Eastern and African melodic modality, this innovator infused his music with soaring and evocative composition. This intensity and commitment to experimentation and freedom of expression influenced an entire generation of jazz, classical and popular musicians.  His lifelong search for global music and spiritual awareness remains at the core of this documentary.  It  is interesting to note that Coltrane’s ambition was to play with as many diverse and multicultural musicians in his lifetime as possible.

This reissue DVD offers performance highlights interspersed with commentary by a variety of musicians.  It is an interesting experience to watch Coltrane produce those incredible sounds out of the tenor sax (Giant Steps), and the soprano sax (My Favorite Things).  The performance footage focuses on the inimitable John Coltrane Quartet with McCoy Tyner on piano, Elvin Jones on drums, and Jimmy Garrison on bass. Equally moving is the rendition of the moody and reflective Reverend King Alabama.  The black and white film underscores the minimalistic and groundbreaking explorations of these musicians. Footage of Coltrane with Thelonious Monk  and Miles Davis will demonstrate the respect and awe he inspired in other musicians.  He would continue to experiment, improvise and move forward, regardless of critics or jazz  purists.  His music would always reflect a personal yet universal embrace of the human spirit and its inexorable aspirations.  This DVD provides an incisive glimpse into a genius’ pursuit of music, spirituality, and the world condition.

Commentary by Alice Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Roscoe Mitchell, Rashied Ali, Tommy Flannagan,  LaMonte  Young, Jimmy Heath and others.

TrackList:  1) Opening;   2) John Coltrane’s World of Sound;   3) Giant Steps;  4) My Favorite Things;   5) Influences and Art Music;  6) Reverend King Alabama;  7) Avant-garde and World Music
— Robbie Gerson

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