I wake up to John Coltrane every morning. He's my alarm clock. I choose Coltrane because he attacks with his saxophone. In many songs he roars in the first few seconds. My favorite release from Coltrane by far is the four part A Love Supreme because he's a little more restrained. It's an album that sounds and feels like a monumental achievement in music history, even to these untrained ears of mine.
Today, in a passage from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz, I found out why Coltrane jumped into songs like he did. It reads:
Throughout the year and a half that he stayed with Miles, he worked on his style, trying, as he later told Wayne Shorter, to start in the middle of a sentence and move in both directions at once. In effect, the result was an outrush of arpeggios and semi-quavers spiralling up from the line.
That explains so much about how Coltrane played the saxophone. His time with the Miles Davis Quintet informed and honed his approach to music. It makes me reflect on my own scattershot approach to learning music. Instead of starting in the middle of sentences, I'm reciting the ABCs. It's been a humbling process.
I look forward to being able to communicate intelligently with music. To finding my own voice.