Today would have been John Coltrane’s 90th birthday. An American jazz saxophonist and composer, Coltrane had a massive influence on jazz, both mainstream and avant-garde.
Like J.S. Bach, Coltrane was a deeply spiritual musician. His best-selling studio album, A Love Supreme, is an ode to his faith. In the form of a four-part suite, the first track of A Love Supreme contains a four-note bass motif that structures the entire movement.
The parallels between Bach and Coltrane are many. Both expressed profound religious devotion though their music. Both were incredible improvisers, Bach on the organ, and Coltrane on sax. Both managed to break the musical rules of their day, pioneering new idioms and paving the way for generations of musicians ever since.
Hmm..I wonder about Trane’s four-note bass motif as the basis of A Love Supreme. If we could go back in time, what might Bach have done with that motif? And, if we hadn’t lost Trane at the young age of forty, what might he have done with the four-note Bach (B-A-C-H) motif?
Listen to A Love Supreme here.