Coltrane

“In the mid 1960’s, when I was too young and didn’t have any money. I stood outside of the Plugged Nickel in Chicago, because on the other side of the wall there was a performance by John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Jimmy Garrison, Jack Dejohnette & Rashid Ali. Tonight, I am very pleased to have a Coltrane in the house”.

Those were my introductory words about my guest, Michelle Coltrane, on Thursday, July 12.

Michelle was backed by 3 members of the Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra, Curt Hanrahan on reeds, his son Tim on bass and brother Warren on drums. With special guest, guitarist Shae Welsh. I always expect for jazz musicians to be of a high caliber musically, As one who never had the chops,  I know the rigors needed to become a jazz musician, but when they bop their hearts out, that makes for a very special concert. That was the case on this evening.

North Street Cabaret was the perfect venue for the 80+ in the audience. Great acoustics, great music and a very appreciative audience.

Only about a year had passed since my standing outside of The Plugged Nickel, when I met a friend in Chicago’s Old Town district (where The Plugged Nickel was located) and he told me that Coltrane had died. It was July 17, 1967. He was only 41.  My heart sank. My world stopped spinning for a moment.

The name Coltrane evokes very special feelings for me. His music did and still does have a very deep place inside of me.

When I attended art school and pursued my photography seriously, I listened to Coltrane and experimented with my images, leaving the shutter of the camera open and moving to the music. I tried to duplicate visually what Coltrane was trying to achieve in his music, creating "sheets of sound", as he called it.

Very little of these images remain. This is one.                                                                                

 The power of music is great.  I’m fortunate to be playing a role in it, as small as it is.

The power of music is great.  I’m fortunate to be playing a role in it, as small as it is.