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YMMV / John Coltrane

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  • Base-Breaking Character: In the 1960s, Coltrane was this for jazz fans in general; his music was extremely divisive, and got more so as the decade went on; how you felt about Coltrane pretty much defined whether you were or weren't interested in modern jazz. When Coltrane died, the respected English poet and jazz critic Philip Larkin wrote in his newspaper column "I mourn his death, as I mourn any man's; but I can't conceal that it leaves in jazz a vast, blessed silence."
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  • Broken Base: Coltrane fans are split on when his best work was, due to how often he changed styles. Was it his work in the 50s when he developed the unique "Sheets of Sound" style of soloing? Was it in the early sixties when he was writing pieces that changed keys every few seconds? Was it the classic quartet period of 1962-1965, when he released A Love Supreme? Was it his free jazz period, where he went into unexplored territory night after night?
  • Creator Worship: Despite being polarising during his lifetime, he has become a literal case in some circles, which literally consider him a saint. More mundanely, as mentioned on the main page, his influence affected almost everyone who picked up a saxophone for several decades - among his contemporaries, arguably only fellow Miles alumnus Wayne Shorter (Weather Report, etc.) has had any comparable degree of influence.
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  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Coltrane has a very sizeable fanbase in Japan, due to his final tour covering almost the entire country.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Pharoah Sanders' soloing on "Om" can be extremely terrifying at parts.
    • A lot of his later free jazz material can probably qualify as this, particularly for neophytes. The Olatunji Concert, the final recorded performance of his life, is perhaps the most terrifying of these. (He performed once more after this, but no known recordings of the performance exist.)
  • Tear Jerker: “Alabama”, Coltrane’s tribute to the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.
  • Vindicated by History: Coltrane is now one of the most respected and even beloved figures in jazz, but during his career he was one of the most divisive, with some critics accusing him of being an 'enemy of jazz' and suchlike.


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