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Spirit Catcher - The Life and Art of John Coltrane by John Fraim

It was an interplay which marked a unique new concept in jazz. A concept recently resurfacing from the New York underground where it had existed for years. It was a concept which could be heard blaring out of Ornette Coleman's garage in Los Angeles. Later in the sixties the concept would become the most influential in jazz. It would have an entire school of musicians built around it. And the schools founders would be John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. It would forever be called "Free Jazz".

John Fraim's "Spirit Catcher: The Life and Art of John Coltrane" offers a chronological account of the Saxophonists life from the first sentence in Part one to the last sentence in part three. The "Spirit Catcher" is successful in recreating the environment in which the artist flourished.

For instance, Fraim shows that 1957 was a pivotal year for Coltrane. For what turned out to be his final stay at home, Coltrane manages to break his long standing addiction to alcohol and hard drugs and experience a spiritual awakening which had immediate musical consequence.

Coltrane turned to increasingly radical musical styles in the mid-1960s. These controversial experiments attracted large audiences and by 1965 he was surprisingly affluent. From autumn 1965 his search for new sounds resulted in frequent changes of personnel in his group. New members included Pharaoh Sanders, Alice Coltrane (his wife) Rashid Ali (a second drummer until Jones departure) several drummers as seconds to Ali, and a number of African-influenced percussionists.

In his final years and after his death, Coltrane acquired an almost saintly reputation among listeners and fellow musicians for his energetic and selfless support of young Avant garde performers, his passionate religious convictions, his peaceful demeanor and his obsessive striving for a musical ideal.

Fraim traces for the reader Coltrane's musical roots and relationships with jazz greats such as Eric Dolphy, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and many others.

"Spirit Catcher" is a truly exciting story with vivid metaphors that will awaken and captivate the musician in all of us. It allows the reader to meet John Coltrane, view his life, and experience his music that will live on forever as a work of art.It was an interplay which marked a unique new concept in jazz. A concept recently resurfacing from the New York underground where it had existed for years. It was a concept which could be heard blaring out of Ornette Coleman's garage in Los Angeles. Later in the sixties the concept would become the most influential in jazz. It would have an entire school of musicians built around it. And the schools founders would be John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. It would forever be called "Free Jazz".

Additional Info

  • Book Title: Spirit Catcher - The Life and Art of John Coltrane
  • Author: John Fraim
  • Publisher: Greathouse
  • Year Published: 1996
  • Book Type:: Biography
  • ISBN: 964556103
  • Rating: Five Stars
  • Number of Pages: 216
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