I just learned of Cecil Taylor’s death and the computer crashed. These events aren’t coincidences. Nothing works right when the world has fewer magicians in it.
While reading Corey Mwamba’s blog posts at 3 a.m. about Coltrane’s revealing, yet mysterious, sketches of note/tone/scale relationships may not sound like the best way to wrap up an exhausting work week, here I am doing that all the same.
(Start here: http://www.coreymwamba.co.uk/rambles/1388150764)
It’s a fascinating music mystery. The first reason is because despite his fame, the length of time since his death, and the enormous impact he had on music, no-one is truly certain what these diagrams mean. Coltrane spoke very little about his music. He also died relatively young. Perhaps a smidge of racism? Perhaps. Considering that The Beatles were active around the same time, and the amount we know about them, it’s surprising how little is known about this drawing.
The other mystery, for me, is that this approach is very different from how I think of music—listening or writing. It’s a conversation heard through a faulty wire, where gaps of meaning come through the gasping wires at erratic intervals, providing a vague overview of the speaker’s intent.
That fault, is mine. The allure is still transmitted. One seeks to understand what lies beneath, the music muscle under the tight slacks of ignorance.
An ambient sound generator for the mind. A new box of crayons for tomorrow. A familiar picture seen from a new, illuminating angle.
Okay, John Coltrane. Your mysticism still travels the air these years since your passing. Teach onward.
Church of JC