So it should have come as no surprise that when I asked him what his favorite musical instrument was, he would say “saxophone”. (What? Not GUITAR? The answer should ALWAYS be guitar! Write that down, everybody!)
Anyway, there goes another shingle from the roof of my insular little world. And the resulting leak might have been what led me to eventually get Kind of Blue, my first jazz album, and the many others that followed.
Not that I'd notice for a while, but there was this guy who played saxophone on KOB named John Coltrane, whose name I'd eventually remember because of the several prior occasions when I saw people walking around with armloads of records. Never one record. Always an armload.
So my curiosity got the best of me, and over the years I'd get a number - an armload, really, except they're all on CD - of records by him, or at least, with him, like:
Miles Davis’ Round About Midnight and Milestones, Thelonious Monk at Carnegie Hall, and his own Blue Train, Giant Steps, Live at the Village Vanguard, My Favorite Things, and A Love Supreme, which are all worthwhile, and some stupendous.
Another motivation for getting these records was hearing a song by him on the radio that was so damned good that I've been searching for it ever since. I believe the song had the word, "train" in it, which led me to get "Blue Train", and Village Vanguard ("Chasin' the Train"), neither of which is the song I'm looking for. But I'm not really disappointed.
And this one had bonus tracks, too, so I was sold.
John Coltrane: Afro Blue Impressions (Recorded 1963, Released 1973)
This is post-Miles and Monk, but pre-A Love Supreme, and here he takes several songs I’m already familiar with and begins his journey to outer space with them. But not too far out - I consider it a little mellower than Village Vanguard - but enough to make it interesting.
Which means this record now has some of my favorite versions of these tunes.
The sound is superb, and McCoy Tyner gets to shine, too. This expanded version runs over two hours and that time just flies.
Admittedly, for a non-jazz fan, it might seem a bit repetitive, but since I've been hooked for a while, and have visions of having a John Coltrane Day at my house and playing all of the above records all day long on September 23, his birthday.
And no, that song I'm looking for is not here. But that's okay. I'll find it someday.
So here’s another journey by this, at first troubled, but then humble, courageous and deeply spiritual man. It’s a privilege to ride along on.