Monday, March 24, 2008

Trane tome

Interesting story in my newspaper yesterday about a local guy's, and others', handiwork. Even at $150 this sounds like it's worth it.

I am working my way through Downbeat's Miles Davis Reader right now and I find it captivating to read what Miles was saying at the time about music so important to me today, and what other people were saying about Miles and his music. His Blindfold Test appearances are a hoot in particular.

The story, in part:

"CHAMPAIGN – For nearly seven years, Chris DeVito spent literally thousands of hours holed up in the University of Illinois newspaper and music libraries, researching jazz saxophonist John Coltrane.

"Using microfilm and other archives, he scoured hundreds of mainstream, black and underground newspapers and jazz magazines, looking for references, no matter how obscure, to Coltrane's gigs as a sideman or a band leader and to his life and his music.

"At the same time, Wolf Schmaler of Ottweiler, Germany, was doing similar research in Europe on the pioneering jazz musician's tours there. Their work plus more was compiled for "The John Coltrane Reference," an 821-page book recently published by Routledge Press. DeVito, of Rantoul, is lead author.

"The tome represents a massive amount of painstaking work by not only DeVito and Schmaler but also two other Coltrane experts, one in the United States and the other in Japan who focused on the discography. One, Yasuhiro Fujioka, uncovered rare recordings and met with the musician's son, Ravi Coltrane.

"The book, edited by jazz scholar/performer Lewis Porter, offers a detailed and expansive chronology of Coltrane's life and music from his birth in 1926 to his premature death in 1967. The discography updates two earlier ones that had been considered standards and had been compiled by Fujioka and co-author David Wild.
Among the many illustrations are vintage photographs, copies of more than 350 album covers, and newspaper reviews and interviews, some of which had never been reprinted before."

-- Melissa Merli, The News-Gazette, 3/23/08

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