Saturday, September 23, 2006

Happy Birthday, John Coltrane!!!!

On this date 80 years ago, John Coltrane was born. Sadly, he made just a little over half of that time. But he accomplished so much in such a short time – stints with Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk before leading a quartet that redefined small group improvisation.

For those who are looking for a place to start listening to his music, I would recommend the 2 –disc set on Rhino appropriately entitled The Last Giant. It starts with a homemade recording as a 19 year old in the Navy and covers his development up until his Impulse! Records stint. (The Impulse! recordings can be the most daunting to the uninitiated.)

For the musicians out there:

There are 25 John Coltrane solos available at The cool thing about this website is that you can place your order via email and they’re emailed back to you as a pdf file. Very fast! (He has a current catalog of over 800 transcriptions, ranging from Sidney Bechet to David Sanborn. He also does transcriptions by commission.)

Andrew White has transcribed EVERY John Coltrane solo ever recorded! (He also has a large library of Charlie Parker and Eric Dolphy solos available.) I’ve bought several of his transcriptions over the years. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to play Transition or Ogunde, but I had to buy them just to see what the performances looked like! I can’t remember how much his catalog costs, but you can write to him at: Andrew’s Music, 4830 South Dakota Avenue, N.E., Washington, DC 20017.

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