John Coltrane and Black America's Quest for Freedom: Spirituality and the Music

Author(s): Leonard Brown


John Coltrane's unique and powerful saxophonic sound is commonly recognized among jazz scholars and fans alike as having a "spiritual" nature, imbued with the perfomer's soul, which deeply touches musicians and listeners worldwide. This revered and respected musician created new standards, linked tradition with innovation, challenged common assumptions, and relentlessly pursued spiritual goals in his music, which he aimed openly to use as a means to help listeners see the beauty of life. More than four decades after Coltrane's death, it is this spiritual nature of the music that has kept his sound alive - and thriving - on the contemporary jazz scene. Edited by prominent jazz musician and scholar Leonard Brown, John Coltrane and Black America's Quest for Freedom is a timely exploration of Coltrane's sound and its spiritual qualities as they relate to Black American music culture and aspirations for freedom. A wide-ranging collection of essays and interviews featuring many of the most eminent figures in jazz studies and performance-Tommy Lee Lott, Anthony Brown, Herman Gray, Emmett G. Price III, Dwight Andrews, Tammy Kernodle, Salim Washington, Eric Jackson, and TJ Anderson (foreword)- the book examines the full spectrum of Coltrane's legacy. Each essay approaches this theme from a different angle, in both historical and contemporary contexts, focusing on how Coltrane became a quintessential example of the universal and enduring qualities of Black American culture. The contributors address Coltrane as the Black intellectual, the visionary master of musical syntax, the man and the media icon, and ultimately the symbol of the spiritual core of Black American music.


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Leonard Brown is a professional saxophonist, composer and arranger, an ethnomusicologist and associate professor of African American Studies and Music at Northeastern University in Boston. He is a Ford Fellow (postdoctoral) and the recipient of distinguished scholarship awards. He served as senior consulting historian and principal ethnomusicologist for the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, MO, the first national jazz museum in the USA and is co-author of Kansas City and All That's Jazz. Brown is co-founder and producer of the John Coltrane Memorial Concert, the world's oldest annual performance tribute to Coltrane, established in Boston in 1977.

FOREWORD BY T.J. ANDERSON ; PREFACE BY LEONARD BROWN ; 1. You Have To Be Invited - Leonard Brown ; 2. In His Own Words - Leonard Brown ; 3. John Coltrane and the Practice of Freedom - Herman Gray ; 4. John Coltrane As the Personification of Spirituality In Black Music - Anthony Brown ; 5. Freedom Is A Constant Struggle: Alice Coltrane and the Redefining of the Jazz Avante Garde - Tammy Kernodle ; 6. When Bar Walkers Preach: John Coltrane and The Crisis of the Black Intellectual - Tommy Lee Lott ; 7. "Don't Let the Devil (Make You) Lose Your Joy": A Look at Late Coltrane - Salim Washington ; 8. The Spiritual Ethos in Black Music and its Quintessential Exemplar, John Coltrane - Emmett G. Price III ; 9. Somebody Please Say, Amen! - Eric Jackson ; 10. . Masters on A Master Introduction: Anthony Brown's and Leonard Brown's Interviews with Olly Wilson, Yusef Lateef and Billy Taylor ; 11. Conversation with Olly Wilson ; 12. . Conversation with Yusef Lateef ; 13. Conversation with Billy Taylor ; 14. Coda: George Allen Russell on John Coltrane's Legacy

General Fields

  • : 9780195328929
  • : Oxford University Press Inc
  • : Oxford University Press Inc
  • : September 2010
  • : 233mm X 156mm X 17mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Leonard Brown
  • : Paperback
  • : 256
  • : black & white illustrations