Overindulgence in Coltrane Gives Local Man Jazz Poisoning

Over the last couple of years I went through a slow-building John Coltrane mania. I’d bought A Love Supreme long ago, and had dug it well enough, but last year it hit me really hard, and had drawn me in: I listened to it constantly, hummed it, whistled it (my poor wife!), and soon wanted to check out more. So I devoured Crescent quickly, and then swept through the Impulse collection, bought an album with Johnny Hartman and another freaky-deaky large band LP called OM – and then abruptly stalled. I just ran out of steam. I couldn’t listen to it, and didn’t listen to Coltrane again for months and months; it was a little comparable to not wanting to drink red wine or eat a marshmallow after one of those has made you puke. I didn’t really understand the feeling, but I couldn’t listen to Coltrane.

Last week, I relistened to Crescent, and was completely swept up in it. Since, I’ve been listening to it constantly, and in no casual way. I can’t really read during, and it’s not really appreciable in the background; and I think I’m figuring out something about jazz, about the really great stuff. It’s bigger than a lot of other music.

I love rock music. I grew up with it, and the sounds and structures of it have carved a big appreciative groove in my brain. I can eat a LOT of it, and do. When I get into a band, I devour their catalogue. I read about them. I find out how they fit into the rest of it all – history and regionalism and fashion and whatever – and I listen them to death.

I don’t think I can really do that with jazz. I certainly can’t do it with Coltrane. I think I might be able to eat Coltrane at a rate of an album a year, if I don’t want to make myself sick. The music is huge, and it’s rich. I must slow down!

Live and learn. Here’s what I am eating at the moment:

Lonnie’s Lament, from Crescent

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