Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary

Like many of us I enjoy listening to music from all eras and genres. I truly believe that music has a power that can affect a person to their core. For myself I feel it as a release to be able to enjoy bands live and share that experience with a crowd of people. Although never an avid listener of Jazz there are names that I am familiar with such as Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

There are countless names that will forever stand the test of time and be discovered by new ears. There are also names though that will be remembered for being innovators and true pioneers of their art. John Coltrane transcended Jazz into a form all his own and in today’s Jazz world is now considered the norm. John Scheinfeld’s film Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary is a biography of Coltrane’s life with interviews from bandmates, his children, and admirers; the film also includes home footage and stunning artwork from Rudy Gutierrez.

Coltrane died tragically at the age of 40 due to liver cancer. His short time on earth as well as his immense contributions to the music world are told beautifully alongside live performance footage that showcases his talents. The flow of the film is so smooth and well-orchestrated it fits as perfect as Coltrane’s compositions. By the end of the film I went from knowing nothing to having an absolute admiration for his compassion and mindset of what music can accomplish.

He was a very religious and spiritual person. He did not define himself by one religion as he realized that with so many different faiths it was wiser to acknowledge just one all-purpose god. His music transcends the genre as it is meant to cross all boundaries and touch a person’s soul. Carlos Santana remembers the first time he ever heard Coltrane it shook him deep inside. Growing up a church goer it seems appropriate that the same way religion was taught and spread onto him he felt he could do the same with his music.

Fans of Jazz and music in general I believe will enjoy this film immensely. Bill Clinton whose love of Jazz just radiates off the screen puts it clearly that as great as Pablo Picasso is look at what Coltrane accomplished and he did it in fifty years less time. You will come out of it having a greater appreciation for a man who felt his music could alter a person and truly affect them.


4 out of 5

Film will play in NYC from Friday April 14th till Thursday April 20th at the IFC Center – 323 6th Ave, New York, NY 10014

Further Screenings can be found here

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