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John Coltrane – Alabama

I love John Coltrane, he is my favourite artist, and is without doubt a musical genius. As such, having just released the new documentary “Chasing Trane” I was super excited about watching it. See trailer below:

It is an excellent documentary that I highly recommend, and just reinforces how much I think about this extraordinary man.

I did learn a number of new things about Coltrane’s compositions that I did not previously know. One of which being the story of the classic composition “Alabama” that features off the album “Live at Birdland”, which he did with his quartet: McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison. Here are the links to the two respective wiki pages:

Alabama was written in response to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing on Sep 15th, 1963, an attack by the KKK in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four African-American girls. It was a tragic event that left a huge scar on our humanity.

Now, in Coltrane’s composition the melody was largely derived out of the rhythm of the Martin Luther King eulogy in response to the bombing (see video below):

If you overlay the sound of the eulogy to the live recording of Alabama (as in the documentary “Chasing Trane”) you can hear the merging of each respective haunting sound. ย You can quite clearly hear the pain and anger of the Black-American struggle and Coltrane’s reflection of that but even more so he is digging deep into the history of black oppression. Moreover, he also has dapples of optimism that also reflect on the progress that was being made at the time on the matter. This is a chilling and haunting piece and based in its symbolism to the movement of racial equality in the United States it is one for the history books.

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Blue Note All-Stars – Cycling Through Reality

Great new album. Check!

Featuring trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, keyboardist Robert Glasper, bassist Derrick Hodge, guitarist Lionel Loueke, drummer Kendrick Scott, and tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland, the album also boasts a special guest appearance by Blue Note legends Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, and is dedicated to the memory of beloved longtime Blue Note President Bruce Lundvall, who passed away in 2015.

The Bad Plus at Ronnie Scott’s 2017

Saw these guys at Ronnie Scotts last week, and they were pretty incredible. The Bad Plus are an awesome Jazz group out the US that are doing their own sub genre of Jazz, along with GoGo penguin and a few others, at the moment that I am a big fan of. They still have heavy jazz moments and improvisation but the bass, piano and drums combination makes for an easier intro to the more general listner. One thing that particular stood out for me this concert was the drummer Dave King, he had a couple of songs in there that he composed that were absolutely delicious, rich and full of unexpectedness yet rhythm. The concert started out off quite bland I must say, but by the end they were on to a great finish. I would however say they should have picked a better encore. Below is great cover of a tears for fears track, and for an album recommendation check out their album with Joshua Redman.