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John Coltrane: His Life and Music (The Michigan American Music) Paperback – 31 Jan 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: The University of Michigan Press; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (31 Jan. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047208643X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472086436
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.3 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

Compiled with the assistance of dozens of Coltrane''s colleagues, friends and family, this book presents much never-before-published material on the life and music of the jazz legend.'

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Mar. 1998
Format: Hardcover
This was my first foray into reading about Coltrane and I found it to be incredibly detailed and informative. The better part of the book is spent following Coltrane as he grew and developed his talents and friendships in the jazz community. Anecdotes about and from friends and peers such as Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis help to paint a complete picture of one of the worlds premier jazz musicians.
The book can get tedious at points for non-musicians, as the author, a jazz musician himself, spends much of the latter chapters analyzing Trane's better known pieces, complete with reprints of chords and notes. I found myself glossing over most of this analysis, and had hoped for more lightweight material instead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Charles Wahab on 25 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The thing about legends, is that they die too early. Some say that they only become legends because they died, but that's a void statement. Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, their music is timeless, they were and remain the best. John Coltrane is no exception, probably the best saxophone player ever, yet what John Coltrane did to Jazz music, was that he was avant-guard, and experimented with musical innovation that was ahead of its time.

This book walks through Coltrane's humble beginnings as a child in North Carolina, Philadelphia, New York and his tour round the country and the world. A quiet man, he practiced endlessly,and from Lewis' detailed chronology of Coltrane's beginning, it clearly emerges that he was to become a great musician and composer, from training under Gillespie to the Miles Davis' quintet, his music was influenced not only by these Jazz legends, but also by classical music, such as Stravinsky. The book also walks through how Coltrane evolved from Alto to Tenor saxophonist. When he formed his own quartet, and his composition of Giant Steps, was the thing of legends. The author details the musician's family and love life, to his battle with heroin addiction that was widespread in the jazz community, and eventually led to his death.

He also includes musical pieces from some of his best work, such as the ground breaking love supreme, to his involvement in Kind of Blue (still the best selling album of all time). The book does have some detailed notes and description of some of Coltrane's work, which for a none-musician such as myself, may be a little too specialized that I skimmed over them, but it left me feeling the need to learn how to read music notes to fully understand the genius of Coltrane. It is also an excellent reference of all the Jazz greats, from Gillespie, Parker, Monk, Golson and of course Davis. I learned a lot from this book- recommended!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 April 1998
Format: Hardcover
Lewis Porter's bio of Coltrane is, so far, the best. After reading 4 bios of Coltrane, each new one more disappointing that the last, I've finally found a reliable source of facts. Mr Porter has done his homework: the chronology, at the end of the book, is worth the purchase alone. He does not get into interpretations, preferring to stick to the facts. He has also avoided the tendency to make Coltrane look like a saint, a tendency so common in other books about Trane. The musical analysis can be hard to follow if you're not familiar with musical theory, even though it looks as Porter has tried to make it as easy to understand as possible. This is the only biography of Coltrane worth reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 July 1998
Format: Hardcover
Lewis Porter, noted scholar and author, gave us not only the definitive book on Coltrane, including detailed biography and musical analysis, but also one of the best book about jazz altogether. Its only minor defect is a short and shallow psychological chapter
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Dec. 1998
Format: Hardcover
And the layout is great too. With loads of musical examples, transcribed solos from Giant Steps, So What and more, plus some very fine pictures of Trane. It also has perhaps the most thorough analysis of A Love Supreme I've ever seen. And all material and things written in this book has a documented source, so that you know everyhting that stands there is true. All Coltrane fans shall rejoice over this book. And if you're not a Coltrane fan, you will be after you've read this book. Marvelous!!!!
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