John Coltrane vs. Eddie Van Halen

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
OK so VH's later stuff is bad, but no worse than some of the 'quiet storm' shit of JC's later mystical modal mucus that just drags on and on, but then I think it's because they were over-ambitious and that's certainly no bad thing

dave q, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

(BTW I asked this before and never got an answer as usual - why is it only guitarists who get dogged for playing fast? I mean, check out Coltrane for 500-mph insanity, not that I mind of course)

dave q, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

'mystical modal mucus' is an awesome description

geeta, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

John Coltrane, was one of the most profound jazz musicians ever to have lived. He took music to a new dimension! Man, you honestly need to listen again, Coltrane inspired some many of the 'first and second stream Free Jazz musicians', like Archie Shepp, Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, Sam Rivers, in fact you'll be hard to find a single saxophone player nowadays who isn't influenced in some way by John Coltrane.

I have no clue in why you would call his later music 'Mystical Modal Mucus', this statement is seeming ostensible ignorance, and arrogance. John Coltrane's later music was like a whole new world, a world that wasn't bound to the traditions of the past, yet heavily borrowed from the past. It really was a Spiritual thing for Trane, he wanted to 'free' music, he wanted to express his soul in music.

If you listen to 'Interstellar Space' a duet album with Rasheed Ali, you can feel that struggling for self-indentity and expression. This was the last official album before his early death at 44. He playing on 'Mars' is totally inspiring, Nels Cline, a indie/jazz guitarist, was so struck by this album that he actually released the same album performed by him and drummer Greg Bendian. The album is intitled 'Interstellar Space Revisited' and was released on the Atavistic label. This isn't just an ordinary tribute, it's a tribute to an actual album, not an actual artist.

I can't really vent my fustration of your comment in words. However I would be interested in what you HAVE listened to of John Coltrane's late work.

Well I'm sorry If I've acted too strongly, but John Coltrane is one of my favourite musicians of all time, and I happen to love his later works.

Geoffrey Balasoglou, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

you just can't compare John Coltrane with Van Halen, they are just leagues away from each other. John made real music, spiritual music, and Van Halen was really just interested in the lifestyle and the money.

Geoffrey Balasoglou, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

in which case, van halen were better!

gareth, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Van Halen hardly did anything original. John Coltrane, strived for his life to be original, and succeeded.

Geoffrey Balasoglou, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

eddie obv: coltrane gets a total free pass

nu raging-demon style josh to thread!!

mark s, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Van Halen hardly did anything original.
We're talking Rock here! Who evah said originality existed?

cuba libre (nathalie), Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Eddie was an innovator! John was okay, my dad likes him. It's a draw!

jel --, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Young People can like John Coltrane, I'm 18, and I love John Coltrane's music. Jazz is definitely NOT old fashioned.

Geoffrey Balasoglou, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

JC was a junkie, so the whole spiritually pure jazz life vs. cock- rocking coke 'lifestyle' thing is a big fat red herring.

But I like the whole 'endurance' aspect of late period JC - it's a great PHYSICAL feat that makes you think about the connections between musician/instrument/body (lungs, in JC's case). The same as I worry about Charlegmane Palestine's RSI problems.

Andrew L, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

metaphysical mucilaginous mellowness!!

geeta, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

QUOTED "JC was a junkie, so the whole spiritually pure jazz life vs. cock- rocking coke 'lifestyle' thing is a big fat red herring. But I like the whole 'endurance' aspect of late period JC - it's a great PHYSICAL feat that makes you think about the connections between musician/instrument/body (lungs, in JC's case). The same as I worry about Charlegmane Palestine's RSI problems.

-- Andrew L (andrewlittlefield@hotmail.com), May 31, 2002."

John Coltrane quit drugs, in his later years, he had a spiritual enlightening in 1957, and he was drug free from than on, (so that was practically his whole solo career!!!

So yes, he did live a pure Jazz life.

Geoffrey Balasoglou, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

anyone have the drug stats on eddie?

geeta, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

eddie = invented straight edge

mark s, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"John Coltrane quit drugs, in his later years, he had a spiritual enlightening in 1957, and he was drug free from than on"

this is debatable.

http://www.everythingblows.com/rant.cfm?ID=191&startrow=1

neil, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Could Coltrane ever have written an anthem as populist and participatory as "Jump" ?

Dare, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Has Eddie ever written a melody as catchy as main theme of "A Love Supreme" or done anything as PURE POP as the Coltrane version of "Greensleeves"?

John Darnielle, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

jump = better than a love supreme as tune AND philosophy

mark s, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

These responses are about what I would have expected. Let's see, John Coltrane has one of the most secure places in the jazz canon; I guess the mainstream ILM answer has to be Eddie Van Halen. For this I am making myself five minutes late to work. Very sad.

DeRayMi, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"John Coltrane has one of the most secure places in the jazz canon": but WHY?

mark s, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

haha if i haf REALLY made coltrane-scepticism the "mainstream" of ilm then my work is done here!!

mark s, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Some people can't help but take the bait.

J Blount, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I don't want to take the bait, but I'm still a worshipper at the church of JC.

Jazz canons are for sleeve notes and HMV sales.

Andrew L, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

geoffrey- eddie had some role in the process of innovating electric guitar technique as reported in an essay written somewhere from alan licht, but, comparing careers, coltrane did for his musical field something really unique.

francesco, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

o loath evh, as he is responsable for exposing me to david lee roth.

dyson, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

EVH was like Star Wars: the turning point in a loose and democratic medium, the backlash of professionalism. EVH guaranteed that generations of guitarists would think that practicing hammer-ons was the most important thing they could do. where for at least a decade, and definitely since Jimi, musicians had focused more and more on the texture of their sound—the guitar as basically like a trigger for a whole range of distortion and effects built on a blistering backbeat—rock as sensation—Eddie coralled it back into the bullpen and taught it notation again. he was a fucking keyboard player for fuck's sake. the quality of the sound was secondary—just enough tube-y distortion to fuel his ridiculous fillips and baroque runs but you weren't really supposed to pay attention to that, you were supposed to marvel and gape and imagine rock n roll as an engineering project far beyond your technical means. EVH = DUD for the re-professionalization of guitar-rock. on his later "fucked up" albums Coltrane sounds anything but professional so I'm going with Trane.

Tracer Hand, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Until Eddie's got a church dedicated to him like JC there will be no way to compare sacred cow to sacred cow. However, there would be no EVH without 'Chasin' the Trane.'

thistleteeth, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

yeah but by that logic tracer they are EXACTLY EQUAL: coltrane professionalised jazz sax by making everyone play scales v.fast => dave q is basically korrekt, they are the alpha and omega of pre-blowwave metal

mark s, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Actually, mark, it would have been Bird who made everyone practice. Including Coltrane.

dleone, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

but JC sounds kind of utterly mindless near the end, when he was playing w/his wife and doing all soprano sax.... I don't have any idea what his place and... i-i-influence in the jazz world was, but for him speed seemed to function as a meditation—if i was feeling uncharitable I'd say the same way gibbering is meditative to a lobotomee—and though Eddie had similar savant-ish obsessions (you could just TELL he spent an inordinate amount of time alone) his speed was all bravado and pyrotechnics and "look at me, ma"

Tracer Hand, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

no, the 50s is full of lyrical non-scales-practice players: viz ORNETTE

mark s, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

TS: look at me ma vs look at my god

mark s, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Ornette played bop before he became "out". So did Eric Dolphy. Anyway, I'm just saying that comparing Bird and EVH seems more apt. Coltrane practiced 10 hours a day just like Bird, but after a point, he wasn't all that interested in being the "best" but rather creating a new vocab, or at least a new meaning for the old one. Maybe that's what Van Halen was doing too, but if so, why did he surround himself with archetypes of idiot-rock?

Another reason why Coltrane vs EVH is bad comparison: EVH never "apprenticed" with anyone, and might be seen as a one-man revolution, similar to Bird, whereas Coltrane seemed to have taken a ball and run with it.

dleone, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Defining Coltrane by how fast he played is a little odd, to my mind. Didn't bebop do the speed thing in jazz first? Maybe you want Charlie Parker vs. Eddie Van Halen (oh, dleone just said that). If you had to reduce Coltrane to a single technical innovation, wouldn't it be length?

Ben Williams, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

yeah but comparing evh to bird means evh wd lose: anyway bird didn't invent metal

mark s, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

haha don't make me reduce coltrane to a single innovation or josh will beat my ass until it is pataphysical

mark s, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Anyway, David Lee Roth is the truly contrarian answer here.

Ben Williams, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I want to hear EVH cover Cosmic Music note-for-note in its entirety with heavy-metal hammer-ons replacing all the harsh soprano noodling. It would be twice as unlistenable!

Tracer Hand, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

http://public.miavita.com/evh/cosmic_music.gif

Tracer Hand, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

it's not entirely true that coltrane was drug-free after his spiritual awakening and rejection of heroin. according to the book 'ascenscion: coltrane and his quest' he did experiment with LSD during (i think) the recording of 'living space' and possibly earlier works (crescent?)

i'll have to dig up the specifics ...

fields of salmon, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

he was a HIPPY!! qed

mark s, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

haha if i haf REALLY made coltrane-scepticism the "mainstream" of ilm then my work is done here!!

No, Coltrane-skepticsm is probably not the mainstream here, but this sort of response:

eddie obv: coltrane gets a total free pass

seems to be, to me. Maybe I should have asked what you meant by his getting a free pass first. Anyway, I think Coltrane proved his ability in various more mainstream styles, before he went on to the more dissonant, difficult works. Giant Steps, My Favorite Things, at least sections of A Love Supreme, seem to me to prove his worth; not that that doesn't mean the later recordings aren't open to criticism.

I have always really viscerally hated the sound of Van Halen, and Coltrane was one of the first jazz player whose style I could readily recognize, and one of the few I really like, at least some of the time.

DeRayMi, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

i want ppl to defend coltrane, but they always just reach for boilerplate = a "free pass" = i don't get it

i think he's the Acceptable Face of Free Jazz, viz ultratechnique plus vague-out mysticism (plus cf kofsky, projected radical politics), then say, If you don't get it you have "no soul" or are being ironic. Well, as to his effect on Free Jazz, I'm *not* being ironic: the mysticism was a total disaster. As to who I'd prefer to listen to: ditto. I love free jazz and Coltrane bores and oppresses me.

ps I know he was a nice man.

mark s, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

The "mystical" Coltrane is only one of a number of Coltranes. My listening tends to be weighted more towards the earlier work: "Blue Trane", "Soultrane", "Giant Steps", sideman work on "Kind of Blue" and "Monk's Music". For these alone, Coltrane deserves his place in the jazz pantheon. I haven't listened to EVH since I was in high school, so it would be difficult for me to compare.

o. nate, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Has there ever been any epochal/transformative figure in music who has had a "good" influence (or if you like to bandy semantics, "effect" haha)? Coltrane, Dylan, Hendrix, Prince, Miles, Led Zeppelin etc... all produced unique fusions that took their chosen forms in new directions. But pretty much everyone who copied them directly sucks hard, embarassingly so. So what? That doesn't diminish what they did. So they were deified and they shouldn't have been. Should you respond to the deification, or to the actual music itself? I vote the latter.

I'm not a rabid Coltrane fan in the way that I am, say, a rabid Miles Davis fan. I'm not familiar with all of his work, particularly the later stuff. I know nothing about the influence he had on free jazz. But I like it, without having any particularly thought-out reasons for doing so. Let's see... why do I like it?

I know his sound as soon as I hear it. There's a rich, deep, ripe tone.

A Love Supreme is a great pop album. Anyone who can make avant-garde pop is alright by me.

I enjoy the quasi-mystical atmosphere to his work (actually, I've always been fascinated by mysticism.) You could call it a raging calm. Lots of cymbal-work on the drums sets up an oceanic vibe (yes, I know all these adjectives are cliched), the horns storm over the top. It's peaceful, but aggressive. I think probably my favorite stuff of his is post "Chasin the Trane," pre "Ascension" et al.

Elvin Jones is a great drummer. I can listen to him anytime.

I like a lot of the more trad stuff Coltrane did. He sounds great within a small group context. Again, that comes back to his sound, I think. He had a voice. How many musicians do?

Ben Williams, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Saying the Van Halen made guitarists have to practice scales and hammer-ons is a bit reductionist, though, isn't it? Obviously there were a lot of guitarists who didn't try to do that sort of thing. Besides, I tend to think of Van Halen as the apotheosis (probably not the correct word) of a Cock Rock legacy that *started* with Jimi and only grew throughout the 70s.

See, that's the thing with Hendrix; you can read his influence (so sorry Mark) in two ways that to our modern anti-technique brains seem diametrically opposed: (1) as an innovator in texture and sound, i.e. mastery of feedback, "wigging out", etc.; or (2) technical mastery: fast, really complicated solos that just beg for 30 year old GIT grads to transcribe them into tablature. Is the line between these two all that clear anyway?

Clarke B., Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I don't see people simply giving Coltrane a free pass here. In addition to the more sweeping generalizations, people are mentioning specific works and in some cases the qualities they like about them.

DeRayMi, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

And dave q's "quiet storm" comment makes me wonder if he has heard any of Coltrane's late Impulse recordings, which don't meet that description at all, as Geoffrey Balasoglou pointed out.

DeRayMi, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Van Halen allowed himself to be relegated to the role of mere accompanist to a) a funny frontman and b) a walking turd. Coltrane wins for realizing that solos are better than songs.

sundar subramanian, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I find a lot of Coltrane's '50s and '60s work both beautiful and thrilling. I find a couple of Van Halen tunes quite fun. I don't understand why these two are put together here at all. I'm not the world's biggest jazz fan by any means, but EVH seems particularly feeble opposition. JC is my second favourite saxophonist, by the way: he produced nothing I love as much as King Curtis on Yakety Yak.

Martin Skidmore, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Jimi's solos were neither fast nor really complicated. Hell, even Stevie Ray Vaughn could do that part better!

Tracer Hand, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

i'm gunna try and give a non-trollish non-jerkish explanation of what i'm on abt in the next coupla days, deraymi: i am really in the end puzzled more by his sanctified ultra-jazz apexhood than the fact that ppl like him (which is fine)... i agree that free pass is a poor description for how ppl have gradually started to respond HERE (but then i hold evil sway in these regions heh)

mark s, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

QUOTE: "John Coltrane quit drugs, in his later years, he had a spiritual enlightening in 1957, and he was drug free from than on" this is debatable.

http://www.everythingblows.com/rant.cfm?ID=191&startrow=1

-- neil (neilemmerson33@yahoo.co.uk), May 31, 2002.

Thank you for sharing that website, I was unaware of the possible connection between John Coltrane and LSD. However most of what I've read doesn't support this, he even said himself in the liner notes to A Love Supreme, however this might not be true, he might have been taking it.

Geoffrey Balasoglou, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

i look to my records to tell me which i like better: 30 odd coltrane albums, and i think i have a used cassette of 5150. coltrane it is!!!

ron, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Coltrane and EVH both suck and here's why. Take these two poles and find the equator: And it's JOHN FRIGGIN' MCLAUGHLIN.

Jody Beth Rosen, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

For mark s...I think there are a lot of reasons why Coltrane gets the jazz sainthood position but I really don't think you can overestimate how influential the 'classic' quartet was. Not that it was totally unprecedented of course, but it started a whole style of playing in jazz. I think every jazz musician goes through a point where they want to be *insert Coltrane quartet member here* on their instrument. It's just an amazing mix of power and technique and emotion that does the trick of balancing being fascinating to musicians and very accessible to even non-jazz listeners.

Jordan, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Shakti rule!

'Free Jazz Free Pass' - I wonder if, in the UK at least, this has anything to do w/ Phillip Larkin's fear and loathing of mid-late JC - by default JC came to stand for non-trad 'progress'?

Andrew L, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Bit exasperating to still see 300 variations of the old "fast gtr playing = wank". WHAT is it about EVH's playing that automatically equals "flash for its own sake"? Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow played RILLY fast too, but they had a 'clean' tone so it was more 'spiritual'/'tasteful'/whatevah? EVH just seems like a simple guy who loves his instrument, I don't know why this 'Star Wars' thing seems to come up reflex-like

dave q, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Also, I bet none of the EVH-bashers can tell me the subtle differences between the solos in "Romeo Delight" (mind-destroying) and "DOA" (bonkers), or have even heard these songs. Come on, if you're going to bring up technical matters to explain JC's greatness then let's be fair!

dave q, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Also, I am reliably informed that Farlow was the first to use the two- handed thing on a regular basis. Which means it's a 'jazz' technique so it's OK. Or at least as OK as any other technique, although for some reason some get more opprobrium than others. I never see punkoid Smiths reviews saying "Strum strum strum. Johny 'Chordmeister' Marr delights in showing us 10,000 chords, which will thrill 'jangle' enthusiasts but bore everybody else silly. Smiths = for guitar-chord geeks only"!

dave q, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Tal Farlow and Barney Kessel are great.

But the real innovators were Jazz guitarist, like James Blood Ulmer (with Ornette Coleman), Derek Bailey (solo, man listen to him, he plays the guitar like no-one else), Sonny Sharrock (with Last Exit, the free jazz SUPERGROUP), AND Lenny Breau!!! he could play a bass line while playing a melody, at the same time. If you want Fast guitar playing, and this is 10 times faster than Farlow, listen to Joe Pass, forget about John Mclaughlin, this is the real thing, he played mostly acoustic guitar, proving his power more.

Geoffrey Balasoglou, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Interested in viewpoints re, what's more 'challenging'/'impressive', getting power out of an acoustic instrument or 'reigning in' a spark- spitting electrical machine? It's like watching trained guinea pigs vs. watching F1 racing (metal) or demolition derby (improv) or dirt- bike racing (no-wave etc)

dave q, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Sorry, 'guinea pigs' sounds like a putdown - maybe 'trained alligators'? (And now this thread is going to mutate into 1001 stupid one-liners about amphibious combat, consider it dead)

dave q, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

i'd rather listen to some screaming tube-blare guitar feedback thing than brotzmann blow, most days of the week, but oddly enough i'd rather listen to a jazz band playing "hard and fast" (this is not to say skronking free jazz, mind) than most rock acts. i think it might have something to do with rhythm, but it also might have to do with that "cloud waveform" thing we were talking about on the cd thread.

jess, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

meaning, perhaps, there's a clarity of tone (and thereby "focus"?) with an acoustic jazz band which is lost once speaker fuzz/blare is factored in. (when it comes to "freaking out" however, i'd prefer some machine to do all the work and just spazz out all over the shop. maybe it's oddly easier to take "seriously" than someone honking a horn and sounding to everyone but the adepts like your little cousin or lester bangs picking up an sax and going to town.)

jess, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

actually seeing as i haven't made it clear on this thread i ONLY LIKE V.V.LATE COLTRANE: one of the things abt ascension that's GOOD is that they are all blowing the tops of their heads off, yet the music is best considered/listened to as a gentle one-level soothing new age hum (however loud you play it): it attains a level and sticks at it => immense effort to achieve stillness, like alice and the red queen running to stay where they are

mark s, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

this is good becuz it turns some "solo blowhard=gutful&truthful" cliche or othah upside down, not becuz penetration of the veil of maya is attainable by listening to a record a lot

mark s, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

yeah, ascensions good for warming up the house on a cold winters day. it fills the room up, etc. etc.

jess, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

actually seeing as i haven't made it clear on this thread i ONLY LIKE V.V.LATE COLTRANE

That's the stuff you're supposed to be a little skeptical about.

DeRayMi, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

One theory - EVH is so synonymous with 'wankery' simply because he looks like he's really fucking enjoying himself.

static, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"this is good becuz it turns some "solo blowhard=gutful&truthful" cliche or othah upside down, not becuz penetration of the veil of maya is attainable by listening to a record a lot"

but whatevah yr opinion of col's mysticism surely it is too difficult (impossible?) to demolish solo=soulo impasse without it. mysticism was smokescreen for all-inclusive group play behind John Coltrane TM, allowing likes of drumma Rashied Ali (real genius of later records?) to flourish. do you like those later recs only for coltrane's input? no. regrettable cult of personality for sure but ultimately necessary I think. In any case things get twisted in the hands of the fans rather than on coltrane's part. It's not my bag, but i don't find it intrusive.

bob zemko, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

yeah i don't blame coltrane for it at all

mark s, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

(Just listened to part of "Coltrane Ole.") I don't really care all that much anyway. I always thought that the more Coltrane I listened to, the more I would like him; but in fact, I have an awful lot by him that I don't especially like. Nor do I find that my appreciation of his works grows deeper over time. (I like "A Love Supreme," but it's hardly as important to me as it is for many listeners.) But as I keep saying, yet seem to forget myself, jazz is not my bag, man. I don't think it's it aura and image that keeps me coming back to it. There are aspects of jazz that I like, but they are almost always mixed in with other elements that turn me off.

DeRayMi, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I'm actually quite curious what aspects you, as a non-jazz listener, like and don't like of Coltrane's music (or jazz in general)...?

Jordan, Sunday, 2 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Coltrane - because John was truly one of a kind and innovative, and EVH was merely (a very competent) member of the scores of 70s/early 80s champions of guitar pyrotechnics (Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen, everyone on Shrapnel Records, et al). Coltrane created a paradigm, Eddie worked within one. That's why Coltrane is an icon and EVA is an example...

Siegbran Hetteson, Sunday, 2 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I'm actually quite curious what aspects you, as a non-jazz listener, like and don't like of Coltrane's music (or jazz in general)...?

Jordan, I would like to give this some thought and see if I can answer in more detail what it is that I like about some jazz, despite not really considering myself a jazz fan. (I've listened to a fair amount of it for someone who is not a jazz fan.) In very broad terms, for instance, I like the idea of improvisation. I have listened to a lot of Arabic music and some other middle eastern music which involves a lot of improvisation. With Coltrane, sometimes I just like the tone he gets from his instrument which to me seems to have a very individual stamp on it.

The more I think about it, the more confused I get. I think I'd better answer further some time when I have more energy. I do like quite a bit of Sun Ra's recordings, and find John Gilmore's style extremely appealing much of the time.

DeRayMi, Sunday, 2 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

As part of answer, though this is vague: in every genre of music (I would venture to guess) there are aspects of the music which are particular to the genre, certain conventions and so forth, but there are other things happening at the same time that aren't as narrowly specific to the genre, but are more universally musical. (I realize this is inadequate and am floating it as an attempt at expressing something, more than a real assertion.) In a genre such a jazz where there is so much emphasis on beating against the boundaries of the genre, so much emphasis on innovation, it makes sense that sometiems jazz musicians will make something new which is attractive to people who might not be drawn to many of jazz's conventions.

DeRayMi, Sunday, 2 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I like when Coltrane hits a point in his solo where he plays the same thing repeatedly, or plays little blocks of these repeated melodic framents. I like in "Crescent" the way, at a certain point, he interrupts what he is playing to introduce something else, which, every time I hear it, reminds me of a little kid running around when he's not supposed to.

(I'm still thinking. I have no idea why I have posted so much to this thread.)

DeRayMi, Monday, 3 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

(i'm glad you are doing: you may yet turn me round...)

mark s, Monday, 3 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I'll always remember my metalhead guitar teacher dissing Jimi for playing "sloppy" all the time and bending notes into unresolved territory; "man, if you see a lot of those old films he's just all over the place"; I NEVER ONCE get the feeling that Eddie's about to fall apart which for me would be more interesting than what he does do, which is prove again and again how long he can stay on top of his mechanical bull. I'd much rather see the pile-up than the cleanly- driven race.

Tracer Hand, Monday, 3 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Your metalhead teacher reminds me of a guy i once met who ranted on and on about how Jimi "just jammed his hands down on the frets" and got lucky.... I detected definite racist undertones... If Jimi was sloppy, he was controlled sloppy... the guy could "play" feedback, after all.

Ben Williams, Monday, 3 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I don't really like or understand Elvin Jones's playing. I don't understand it either technically or intuitively. Since I don't know music theory, I don't understand almost any music technically speaking, but there is music that I "understand" in a more gut level sort of way. I can relate to it, anyhow. I "get" Afro-Latin percussion, even when it gets pretty involved and crazy. One thing that bugs me about a lot of jazz drumming is the constant use of the cymbals, which just isn't a sound that appeals to me, I think. I don't get the point of Jones's frequent drum rolls. Given the number of his admirers, and the fact that I don't understand what he's doing, I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt. I just don't enjoy listening to him. (I don't particularly like Roy Haynes either.) I used to like McCoy Tyner more than I do now. It's a funny thing where I'm really on the fence: if I just leaned a little more in a certain direction, I think I'd like him, but I can't quite make it to that point. I find him a bit boring at this point.

DeRayMi, Monday, 3 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

On second thought, sometimes Elvin Jones isn't really that incomprehensible to me.

Getting back to jazz, more generally. A lot of it simply boils down to: I don't especially like early jazz, or swing (as a genre, though not necessarily in the broader sense); so I don't connect much to the roots of jazz, which would explain why I am more likely to enjoy jazz as it gets further away from those roots. Still, there have been exceptions. I think I am more likely to enjoy these things in a live performance. If nothing else, there is the sense of something unfolding. I'm saying that I don't like swing, and yet I have found myself uncontrollably tapping my foot to the Sun Ra Arkestra within the past year, during fairly straight forward swing numbers. But if I put on most swing recordings, especially older ones, but necessarily, I almost immediately want to turn them off.

Like about jazz? I don't think it's just the image. I am attracted in some ways to the seriousness of it, the fact that there seems to be a lot going on, but that's not enough to get me to enjoy what's going on.

As with other music, often I get turned off right away because I don't like the feelings it evokes in me. Too often it reminds me of a vague afternoon headache.

I don't think I can answer Jordan's question in a meaningful way. It is too difficult to say just why I like something or don't like something. Why does Sun Ra's quite traditional "Dark Clouds with Silver Linings" resonate with me in a way that, say, Coltrane's "Soul Eyes" (now playing) does not? I like music in which the musicians seem to be listening to what they are playing and responding to their own playing. Is that a clue? But that presumably goes on in good jazz most of the time.

Sometimes it seems happy in a way I can't believe, but that's how I used to feel about salsa before I started dancing to it. But I took some swing classes and that didn't radically change how I responded to swing. Sometimes it is melancholy in a way that feels oppressive to me.

I find that most predictions of the "you like x music, you might like y jazz player" are not true for me. I like (modal) Arabic music: I might find "Coltrane Ole" a good entry point. But I don't, really. Or someone else has suggested Ayler on that basis. Well, one or two tracks that I like when I'm in the right mood. And, no I don't like most Latin jazz that I have heard, despite liking salsa and some other Latin music. (If anything, I think Latin jazz is too busy being jazz in a straightforward way, because it already is something besides jazz, so if it's going to be jazz at all it can't be jazz on the frontier of jazz. This is just an impression/guess and I know that mnay people think that Latin jazz is in fact one of the most vibrant areas of jazz where interesting things are being done.) I like electric guitar, but I don't generally like the way it's used in jazz. I like some work by Fred Frith and Henry Kaiser and Hans Reichel, all of whom have some degree of connection to jazz, but I wouldn't consider any of them to be jazz. If you look at the elements in their music that are shared with jazz, maybe that's a clue as to what I like in jazz.

The "musical elements" that exist no matter what the genre is: if you somehow capture them without any genre coloring I don't think you'd be left with any music, but you might have a nice Platonic ideal.

DeRayMi, Monday, 3 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

three years pass...
Holy shit, guys. Wow. Like, wow.

Ok, anytime anyone evr says that ILX used to be so much better than it is now, plz point them to this astounding, breathtaking thread. This whole thread is so ignorant about about jazz it's... well...

Paunchy Stratego (kenan), Saturday, 7 January 2006 09:27 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Jordan being the exception.

Paunchy Stratego (kenan), Saturday, 7 January 2006 09:29 (twelve years ago) Permalink

mark's OTM about coltrane getting a "free pass" but lots of other artists get that too.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Saturday, 7 January 2006 10:02 (twelve years ago) Permalink


Ornette Coleman vs. Trey Azagthoth

Ian Christe (Ian Christe), Saturday, 7 January 2006 23:48 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Trey!

scott seward (scott seward), Saturday, 7 January 2006 23:59 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"actually seeing as i haven't made it clear on this thread i ONLY LIKE V.V.LATE COLTRANE:"

So Sad.

scott seward (scott seward), Sunday, 8 January 2006 00:02 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Tracer Hand, this thread is your finest hour, possibly excepting the joke you made about locking George Thorogood in a cellar with a mandolin and a lump of coal on the gone-missing Folk vs. Country thread.

Redd Harvest (Ken L), Sunday, 8 January 2006 00:09 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I think the most interesting about EVH actually was the timbres/textures he got from both guitars and synths.

Sundar (sundar), Sunday, 8 January 2006 00:46 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Wow, this thread is old.

Jordan (Jordan), Sunday, 8 January 2006 01:21 (twelve years ago) Permalink

You were right on the money in your first post. Have you changed your mind since then?

Redd Harvest (Ken L), Sunday, 8 January 2006 01:29 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Nope.

Jordan (Jordan), Sunday, 8 January 2006 01:44 (twelve years ago) Permalink

mark s. is so gleefully wrong on this thread. but so are a lot of others.

scott seward (scott seward), Sunday, 8 January 2006 01:55 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Good.

Redd Harvest (Ken L), Sunday, 8 January 2006 02:04 (twelve years ago) Permalink

JBR, do you still hate John McLaughlin?

Sundar (sundar), Sunday, 8 January 2006 22:52 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Glad we settled that. Now Bob Marley vs. John Fahey.

Ian Christe (Ian Christe), Monday, 9 January 2006 01:53 (twelve years ago) Permalink

eight years pass...

i've never hated john mclaughlin, or evh, or coltrane. i was just trolling.

Westing (By Musket Anne Sexton) (get bent), Sunday, 16 November 2014 05:36 (four years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

so i went to see the john scheinfield coltrane doc at the the ica a couple of weeks back, with top ironic stalinist gadfly and JC-stan xyzzzz__

and we both agreed it’s p bad and here’s why

it does the usual documentary thing, of hunting out a bunch of talking heads — family, professional, the commentatative pundit — and then merely stitching them together with stills and live footage into the same version of the story we always already know… anything odd or interesting that pop’s out of someone’s mouth is not returned to or dwelt on or even apparently noticed

the shape it offers is utterly conventional: beginning times (where from, where first played)
times with miles (interrupted by drugs); GIANT STEPS; break-up of marriage; A LOVE SUPREME; final tour of japan and sad early death

these mounting avant-garde milestones are all routinely invoked, but really no attempt is made to say what made them milestones — nine musicians are presenting yabbing away, but nearly none of them say anything whatever about the changing content of the music, his technique, his approach, what was concretely at stake in the choices being made, on-stage or in the studio. there was no glimpse AT ALL abt what it is that JC actually did, that was new to and impressed other musicians — or bothered them. wayne shorter for example, a shrewd and highly intelligent man (as well as player), is on-screen for a little. I interviewed him once and got him to talk abt the effect the arrival of the beatles had on the scene in c.1964: he was funny and interesting abt how much they divided jazzers, how some pricked their ears up and others just said “more nonsense from whitey”. we know that jazz in the early 60s wasn’t a collegiate love-in, anything but… but JC has undergone retrospective MLK-ification, and the fights and fears are forgotten in the haze of pro forma sanctification

(i’m not really dissing shorter, sonny rollins, mccoy tyner, benny golson or jimmy heath here — the latter two, as not-stellar-musicians who were JC’s friends and colleagues in the early days, did give good backstage anecdote, even if mainly abt the junk-ambience everyone was battling with, and the first three were either asked dull questions or — as likely? — had their interesting answers consigned to the cutting room floor)

(here’s who I am somewhat dissing however: carlos santana, wynton marsalis, cornel west, BILL fkn CLINTON)

(tho west clearly knows little abt music in the sense I’m thinking abt, and somewhat gave that away in a performance of twinkly down-with-the-streets bullshitting that was at least somewhat signalling that he knew this doc was trash and was playing along, for you to spot and the director not to)

(and santana and also john densmore were at least talking as fans responding to something on the way to their own music and sensibility: the former a notorious spiritual hat guitarwank bore after his early records, the latter apparently a massive elvin jones nut as a teen)

(cue for santana, the claim — do I believe this, I am not sure — that when he’s on tour he “purifies” every hotel room by burning incense and playing the whole of a love supreme) (cue for densmore lots of stills of JIM MORRISON, surely coltrane’s purest equivalent in the rock universe    )

(also there were some historian-biographers and some embarrassed-seeming family members, who obviously love their dad but feel somewhat squinty abt this tin-eared project — their dad who I am happy to continue to believe was an unusually lovely and generous man, especially for a working musician) (scope for an ingenious approach: present JC as the anti-miles, and deal w/their journeys in compare-contrast parallel)

so yes, i was hoping at least to learn something or see or hear something that that wd help inch me in a little past my long-term JC-sceptic status: I get that people adore him and that he is considered important, but this very highly important contribution that none of us can put into word bores me, I find his tone entirely unappealing, and ditto the fetishisation of granite-hard everests of effort in the journey, like some kind of saxophonic rich piano. PEOPLE ONLY EVER TALK LIKE THIS ABOUT HIM — or if they don’t, they either weren’t selected for this doc or the relevant passages ended up on the cutting-room floor (I actually suspect this is quite likely, at least with the musicians

and I have no yen to push back on that much, but NOBODY TALKS ABOUT HIM WELL and I wish that could change: huckster-pundits clinton west and WYNTON FKN MARSALIS worst offenders in this respect. until the peerlessly maddening moment — xyzzzz__ and I p much turned to each other and shouted #SMDH — when EINSTEIN no less was wheeled out to explain and explore what GENIUS is, what it does and and how it work, completely with equations and everything floating past in the edit-collage.

of course they didn’t actually deploy the equations in any coherent or speculative or provocatising way, but they DID display them. the publisher’s motto is: every equation included in a popular science-writing book halves the readership… well here we get http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/einstein-eq.jpeg but nothing abt chords or scales or what gitler meant by “sheets of sound” or the west african sound of JC’s soprano in “naima”, the various things (political, “spiritual”) that the search for FREE actually meant to ppl. to coltrane or to anyone else…

(minor side issue: has relativity special or general even been used intelligibly to illuminate music? I think likely NO: i’d kind of love to see it pulled off somewhere, if only in the form of trolling, but — as an actual semi-credentialed mathematician w/a degree and everything, this was just halfwit piffle)

in general — and the einstein moment entirely fits here — the interstitial work was just lazy garbage. it was an era of strong photography, so it could hardly help looking OK from the stills angle, despite very few pictures you hadn’t seen 30 times before (and every photo was panned and zoomed in the same dull way): some of the live footage was genuinely new (at least to me; tho I very much doubt to an actual hard-seeking fan). it rested a lot too on some (I thought) quite bad mystical afro-futurist art as the backdrop point of rest. whenever they recreated a newspaper splash w/headline and photo, if you looked carefully you could see that the paragraphs of text too small to read were ALL just lorem ipsum fucking dolor , which wtf you half-measures cheapskates (obviously the recent TSwift hommage to same was witty and cheeky in comparison)

and a final bad decision: denzel washington reading as coltrane’s actual voice, which just took away any quirky sense of the man himself and replaced it with humbug hollywood gravitas

(tbf this^^^ is a super-touch ask for any actor I think: but I’d almost have preferred — since we’re anyway in wynton-propinquity — something more outrageously ken burnsy as a v/o. something that gave a sense of past times and lost sensibilities: a courteous gentlemanly black north carolinan at sea in the turbulent city) (one of the takeaways from the stream of stills is how melancholy and also how gawky he often looked; his ungainly country-boy goofiness: he was no dapper hipster, quite the opposite)

so the move ppl use to dodge talking abt the music is donning the spiritual hat by proxy: and then — having invoked spirituality — say nothing whatever about it, what it means, how coltrane deployed it (as mask, as weapon, as balm, as what the fuck ever). closest to achieving this is sonny rollins, gnomic as ever and resplendent in an amazing crimson suit: for a start he substitutes the word “celestial” for the word “spiritual”, and does so in a context that implies the JC’s self-constructed pan-faith religiosity was a way to step away — away away far far away — from planet earth’s grief and crimes and conflict, and explore how to see and sketch and perhaps fashion shared samenesses among the belief-systems and cultural sonics of the many warring clans. “the big picture,” rollins calls it, simply and directly enough: and of course the doc sweeps past this and makes no connections, and hints at no sense that they just heard what they heard…

of course the word celestial (as slyboots rollins well knows) takes us to the jazz einstein who could (IMO) crack open all these issues, but we sweep past him entirely: this would be sun ra, whose chief sideman john gilmore is said to have inspired JC to exclaim “he’s got it! John’s got the concept!” ra is dead and so is gilmore, but marshall allen is (at time of posting) still alive and well and active!! why not get him in front of the camera? this film is after all clumsily named for a piece inspired by gilmore’s sound. “space music is an introductory prelude to the sound of greater infinity,” says ra. “it is a order of sounds synchronised to the different order of being”

yes this is opaque and riddling — hallo and welcome to the heliocentric worlds! — but ra’s sense of vaster hierarchies or orders and layered geometries as a recalibration of mere mundane perspective is at least a well enough trod approach to see coltrane’s journey somewhat from a side elevation: and ra’s bleak pessimism is also a help I think. instead of the somewhat numbing glad-hand positivity of (allegedly) achieved lovely oneness — which is what I’m most allergic to in the backward-looking coltrane discourse — there’s SR’s often-stated belief that the human race haven’t got the concept and won’t get it and it’s already after the end of the world, brother. JC didn’t believe this — or anyway couldn’t bear to concede it to himself — and his sound is a FIGHT against it, on the exact same battle, and a fight (I assume) against the elements in himself which were drawn to ra’s scornful (and invigorating) anti-humanism.

instead of course we get wynton, riding the reverence trane with total chutzpah, given his known views on free: and — despite his endless ability to grab up his horn and demonstrate the rhythms of a king oliver joint — again saying nothing (good OR bad) abt the musical choices trane was making. It somewhat occurred to me to wonder whether his condition of involvement was the non-discussion of ra (who his mentor stanley crouch has dismissed as a pure charlatan). at least — speaking of charlatans, or anyway trickster-figures enjoying playing them on TV — cornel west has the grace to say of ASCENSION that he has no idea what the fuck is going on, but he’s happy to be long for the ride bcz no doubt one day he will (in other words, I’m kinda glad someone voice this sentiment and that it was someone embracing it not denouncing it) (I might as well say here that west is someone I’m super-ambivalent about, as observer and as troll)

(plus I quite like imagining how grumpy CW probably was at the screening to find himself alongside fellow huckster-pundit clinton, doing his own — different but equal — version of a similar hustle for would-be-woke but unwakaeble northern urban whitey)

so anyway it ends in a crazily aggravating place which (A) exactly approaches the pan-cultural sense of mourning and bearing witness, JC in japan on his final tour, visiting the temples at hiroshima and so on: and hunting for a celestial language that expresses the feels and the meaning of this for him, and then (B) inflects the entire story through the self-regarding narrative of an insane japanese collector-fan who lives in a room that’s a cave-shrine to the commodity god coltrane, just jam-packed with every single gatherable object. the fact of this guy at all is a tell; a symptom: except he of all people is the worst person to be telling it

(i mean, imaginably not: he might have had insightful perspective, it’s just that he very evidently — after just a few moments in his presence — doesn’t. meanwhile we’re watching JC touring and already — tho it’s not clear if he knows it yet — mortally ill: which is simultaneously moving and maddening)

two last points (good moments thrown away):
• there was a colour shoot from the early 60s I’d never seen before where the photographer had directed him to look about in portentous male-model style in some backstage space full of ropes and ladders, which made me grin, bcz you can see his ugh-this-is-dumb look as he does it (this may be why the pictures aren’t well known of course)
• the tale of trane and miles feels thrice-told and yet the evident interesting friction of it feels to me endless sidestepped and elided: so of course the “how do you stop? just take the horn our of your mouth!” story is trotted out, but of course it’s also referred to as joke and in-studio banter, miles being incrutable his non-corny self, and not at all explored as an actual real aesthetic flashpoint between the two. there’s even revealing live 1959 footage of miles side of stage while trane solos in (apt title) “so what” and you can absolutely tell he’s thinking GET ON WITH IT JOHN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w4FI0Jq0lI

mark s, Saturday, 26 August 2017 12:37 (one year ago) Permalink

squinty s/b squinky

the unnamed ninth of the nine musicians named was COMMON: he did not imo provide the needed key to this door

mark s, Saturday, 26 August 2017 12:42 (one year ago) Permalink

actually they shd have interviewed dave q and then concept-structured this thing overtly round lorem ipsum dolor

mark s, Saturday, 26 August 2017 12:50 (one year ago) Permalink

dave q would have been awesome. I think I'll wait till this shows up on a BBC4 Jazz Night.

Wewlay Bewlay (Tom D.), Saturday, 26 August 2017 12:55 (one year ago) Permalink

Wow, this sounds like a colossal mountain of manure. The recently released Dave Liebman/Joe Lovano Compassion album, that was originally broadcast as a JC 40th death anniversary on R3, is something I like right now.

calzino, Saturday, 26 August 2017 13:09 (one year ago) Permalink

you know you've been on ilx too long when the phrase "momus, do you like gitler?" pops into your head :D

mark s, Saturday, 26 August 2017 13:29 (one year ago) Permalink

incidentally when i try to expand the thread of the invention of the (correct and useful) term "spiritual hat" it tells me there is something dangerous on it above and beyond deej's (correct and useful) low opinion of a love supreme: JAZZ IS LIKE HEROIN TO ME ! ! ! ~~~~ ILM POST-1945 JAZZ ALBUMS POLL - THE RESULTS COUNTDOWN (now counting top 25!)

mark s, Saturday, 26 August 2017 14:32 (one year ago) Permalink

(here’s who I am somewhat dissing however: carlos santana, wynton marsalis, cornel west, BILL fkn CLINTON)

I swear Carlos Santana has some kind of right of first refusal in a contract where he can appear in any jazz documentary. He never has ANYTHING interesting to say, it's always just like "That's what improvisation is about. It comes from the soul."

the last famous person you were surprised to discover was actually (man alive), Saturday, 26 August 2017 15:03 (one year ago) Permalink

i saw a documentary once about him where he said that a guitar note shd have the sound and feel of a squeezed testicle

mark s, Saturday, 26 August 2017 15:10 (one year ago) Permalink

or something like that

mark s, Saturday, 26 August 2017 15:10 (one year ago) Permalink

ok well that's interesting

the last famous person you were surprised to discover was actually (man alive), Saturday, 26 August 2017 15:38 (one year ago) Permalink

did he mean like a kick in the stellar regions?

calzino, Saturday, 26 August 2017 17:35 (one year ago) Permalink

forget his exact words but my memory seems convinced that he meant manual squeezing shd be involved, i think he did a gesture

mark s, Saturday, 26 August 2017 17:46 (one year ago) Permalink

Def gonna call my jazz fusion collabo with Carlos "Nether Regions"

the last famous person you were surprised to discover was actually (man alive), Saturday, 26 August 2017 17:54 (one year ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.