About John Coltrane Essay Research Paper James — страница 5

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most sublime critic, was trying to express what anyone of artistic awareness sensed in the presence of a music more powerful, more anguished and celebratory than any in recent memory. But there is a source to this power, despite the blinding sparks of Trane’s titanic assault on tradition (which I have, admittedly, stressed somewhat tendentiously). What he actually did was to obey an obscure but profound impulse to revolt against established conventions in order to rediscover convention on a deeper level. Specifically, Trane recalled, for himself and for his generation, the old cry and shout of the blues. This impulse can be felt throughout his career; in his construction of melody, he always maintained a hint of the blues’ folk scales. When, in the later works, the tonal

centers were mixed and shifted in rapid succession, the blues did not disappear. On the contrary, they were asserted more energetically, more primally in the sheer outpouring of shout, screech, wail and cry, in the uninhibited pitch and movement within the register. Listen to "Manifestation" (1966), to "The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost" (1965), to "Transition" (1965). There are long patches there which are virtual encyclopedias of oral tradition, with grunt, scream, joke, and soothing speech all intended as confessions and calls to the people. One feels the blues as naked vocality especially in recordings of Trane’s live performances. Trane always sought to pull his audience into the force-field of his long, explosive solos. His ideal,

like that of the earliest jazz masters, was one of collective improvisation. "When you know that somebody is maybe moved the same way you are," he once said, "it’s just like having another member in the group." Again, the contrast with the white avant-garde is revealing. To the latter, demands for communication and participation are not only irrelevant but disruptive of the fundamental rage for disorder. It seeks the dismemberment and abhors any interruption of its own destruction. For Trane, as for all black artists, the community’s involvement in a ritual of restitution is paramount. It is they who must ultimately–and continuously–re-member his total Orphic being. Excerpted from "Late Coltrane: A Re-Membering of Orpheus." In A Chant of

Saints: A Gathering of Afro-American Literature, Art, and Scholarship. Ed. Michael S. Harper and Robert B. Stepto. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1979. Copyright ? 1979 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.