Monday, July 09, 2007

Serenity song

Eric Nisenson in Ascension: John Coltrane and His Quest, says he thinks Coltrane, a student of world religions as well as music, not to mention Einstein's theories, deliberately used a chant form common in the East on a Love Supreme, so now I know why, when I started trying to clear my mind for a few minutes every morning, what passes for meditation at my place, I naturally used a love supreme, a love supreme, a love supreme to push away my tendency to plan, worry, et al instead of not thinking. Bring in the music, in my mind, behind the chant and I can pretty much take my mind off anything else.

Nisenson points out as well that Coltrane later repeats the chant on his tenor in a human voice-like fashion, which I'd noticed before, of course, but never really thought about. In New Orleans, and before, jazz and proto-jazz musicians worked to capture vocal qualities on their instruments (Morton, Bechet and Armstrong, among others). However, I think it is, in a more abstracted form, an integral quality of free, avant-garde jazz, a step on the way to the pure sound experiments that eventually resulted. Meaning A Love Supreme really does point the way to what Coltrane would be doing next, kind of like Miles and In a Silent Way.

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