It’s John Coltrane’s birthday, next month, September 23rd. I am marking this time, by listening each day to some ‘Trane; everything I own and then some: revisiting personal keystones, and investigating new frontiers. and I am going to write about some of these
On Sunday, I listened to a CD of ” Stellar Regions”, a posthumous recording collection from February 15th, 1967. Note that there are 11 different tracks, all recorded on the same day. John Coltrane; tenor saxophone; Alice Coltrane, piano, Jimmy Garrison, bass, Rashied Ali, drums.
There is a mournful quality in these songs: Reflective ( seraphic light) phrasing is timeless… the rhythm is timeless….
or is it? What is the rhythm, can you notate it and get the essence? What is the rhythm … of a dragonfly? of a playground of dragonflies, being chased by little girls in hijabs, eating flushed up mosquitos? the lives of all dragonflies? what is the rhythm …… of a soft wind, in a grove of trees, the same wind in a thundering night-time rainstorm? The rhythm of a piece of reddish quartz being formed, broken apart, buried in the ground, and then picked up by a wandering guy like me on a stream bed?
what is the rhythm of…..a red tailed hawk? the fall migration of hawks, kettlleing in a September wind?
These rhythms are eternal: and cannot be expressed in concepts by 4/4 or 6/8. There is repetition, but not ways we can perceive. Maybe this is how to listen to Coltrane, when you think there is “no rhythm”… or some thing is” so free it is ungrounded”. Perhaps this music is alluding to not ” freedom”, but an expression of a larger order, a larger design, which we are not always aware of. Perhaps. What do you think?